When I was asked to write my reflection about this year’s theme, Finding Hope In Christmas, I thought I might as well get to know this word “hope” in however it would want me to know it. I wanted to know when does one start to hope? How does one distinguish this from a wish or an expectation? Is hoping a never-ending process? If not, at what point does it end? And if it does end, what happens next? I hope you take note of the article “A” in the above title. I am going to make a point here and I would need you to be patient with me. Ready?
I talked with some people I personally know and texted a few about their personal perspective about hope, in general. My first lover, now friend, texted me this, “I follow the saying, hope for the best, prepare for the worst.” An avid admirer cum friend likewise texted me this, “Hope is like sunshine every morning.” One of my co-tutors at work was more pragmatic in announcing, “What is there to hope for? In whatever situation one is, that’s it; either one does something about it or not.” And then there is one new acquaintance, over lunch at Betty’s, we had an animated discussion about hope with him sharing at one point that from a Greek mythology, it was said that hope is an evil virtue. With one of my best buddies, we analyzed hope from a spiritual perspective, among others.
After all those exchanges, I was inspired to come up with a simplistic diagram below:
So far, I find myself concluding that the starting point of hope, of hoping is when I have identified a need or a want for myself or for another. One pressing implication of hope is that there is something not yet in or with me or another. I am able to “see” and identify that which is lacking and that which is complete or a sense of fulfillment. From there hope begins to sprout. The more that I feel the lack or the not-in-the-present, the more that I become hopeful, or full of hope. And more often than not, this motivates me to do something to cancel that lack and experience that which I am wanting or needing. At that point when I satisfy that particular want or need, hope begins to fade, taking the back seat. I bask now in the joy that I feel in having fulfilled a particular want or need. But since I have my senses, I cannot help but witness and feel more contrasts and so I cannot help but compare what I am now, what I have now and what I can become or what I can have; and so the process of hope, and hoping, begins anew…
The thing about appreciation is that it cancels out hope.
To appreciate implies to know, to be certain, to accept without hesitation, to dwell in the present NOW whereas to hope is to dwell in a future that is uncertain and unknown. When I learn to appreciate what I am now, what I am becoming, I do not need to hope for more. It is not about being contented and foregoing the drive to be better or more. It is I understanding that I am expanding, evolving to be who I want to be. Look back at the diagram above, if appreciation cancels out hope, it cancels out need or want and desire as well. That leaves us with action which is the same as the result when hope is added to action.
So, where is God, Jesus, and my being a Christian in all these? They are all there when I am appreciating. I know God is there for me no matter what, no matter where, no matter when. I am learning to appreciate, at differing levels, people, situations and things I am involved or in contact with. It is in knowing this that my hopes are fulfilled and that my prayers, delivered. Since I know Jesus came to show me a path of Christhood, I can readily appreciate the lessons from hardships, challenges, lack or even death…
Let us pray: We thank you dearest Parent God for such a powerful tool that is hope. You have instilled in our heart to never lose hope, to never lose you in our midst. Allow us to do more and to be more like your beloved son Jesus, who has become our guide to accept our worth as your beloved sons and daughters as well. We appreciate your diverse creations, we appreciate your ways in communicating to us, we appreciate you in all my brothers and sisters in Christ. Amen.
Written by Yam of MCC Metro Baguio