by Ruth Griffiths
Hope is a gift that you give to yourself. You can be inspired by many things to feel hopeful, but ultimately, you have to allow yourself to receive the gift of hope. You choose hope over hopelessness. No one else can do it for you.
I choose hope when I believe that my life has purpose. It doesn’t matter what I choose to do. It matters only that I take the gifts I have been given and use them to improve my life and the lives of those around me and in my community.
My father tells a story about me when I was a toddler. As we gazed at the twinkling stars, I asked, “Why are we here, Daddy?” Indeed, it’s a question I’ve asked my whole life. “Why am I here?”
Often, I am satisfied by the formula offered by the prophet Micah: “to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” But in the midst of the jangling insanity of our war-mongering world, sometimes the peaceful path doesn’t seem like enough.
I can also give myself hope when I find the courage to start over. Taking a new path, is not defeat; it’s a sign of strength. Staring over recharges our spirit and keeps us moving forward in life.
Perhaps because the anniversary of his death is approaching, I have been thinking about the lessons my father taught me by living them out. He changed careers at least six times during his life. Perhaps he hid his hesitation and fears from me, but I remember his life as one courageous move after the other… something like the chess game at which he excelled. When I have had to make career changes that looked like defeats, I have continued to have hope, a gift from my father that I have chosen to accept.
Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. Forgiveness provides hope for a new start. When we fail to forgive, pain still has power over us. It doesn’t matter if we caused that pain through our own actions, or if we felt injured by another. When we forgive, we give ourselves hope for a new beginning.
The themes of Advent, the season leading to Christmas, are hope, peace, joy and love. Next week, I will write about peace.