Hopeless darkness

What Does Hopeless Feel Like PART TWO

Some questions of the heart are not easily answered, and the topic of hope is one of these complex, deep-seated matters.

Click here to read PART ONE of this blog, and hear how six people answer the question,  “What does hopeless feel like?”

This is PART TWO – the words of these same people when they were asked two more questions: “Can hope and darkness co-exist?” andWhat triggers the rebirth of hope?”

Reader #1: “I think you have to move through the darkness to find the hope. People have to go through the motions of every pain to be willing to find the light at the end of the tunnel. That’s what triggers hope; you work through your ‘stuff’ and create the will to see the light or silver lining.”

Reader #2: “Hope and darkness can co-exist. Many times a day, dark thoughts come to mind (worry is my darkness). What triggers hope is when I remind myself to feel strong, to know that I can’t control the situation, and I can’t fix people. My mind knows, and my heart knows, but sometimes my body doesn’t respond well. One day at a time, and sometimes it’s one moment at a time, but my hope wins every time because I’m stronger for the past I’ve overcome.”

Reader #3: “Hope and darkness cannot co-exist, because they are opposites. It’s the principle of action versus an equal but opposite reaction – it’s one of the most mind-boggling facts, but there are trillions of these positive and negative reactions occurring in your body at one time, and that includes hope and darkness. Think about it…when you close your eyes, that’s the exact opposite of opening them, and you can’t do both at one time. Because hope and darkness are opposites, when one is created, the other diminishes. Darkness cancels out hope, and hope cancels darkness. They cannot co-exist. To create the rebirth of hope, darkness has to die.”

Reader #4: Hope and darkness can co-exist, usually with some healthy tension. Sometimes I have fought off darkness, but other times I have welcomed it, believing that hope was undeserved. I believe we have to accept hope, to make a choice that we won’t let darkness claim too much real estate. We can do this by creating a mental image of what hope could bring.

Reader #5: “I had trouble seeing hope when I lived in darkness. The darkness enveloped me, and if hope was there, I couldn’t see it. My hope was triggered when I remembered that other people loved and needed me. I had to choose hope by choosing to be there for others.”

I have no wisdom to add to the heartfelt words of these beautiful people, so I will leave you with the words of one more who says it so well:

Reader #6: “Hope and darkness can co-exist. Hope is what you hold onto when you are surrounded by darkness; it is the one part of your consciousness that keeps you from sinking too far into yourself. The only thing that can trigger hope is the realization that you are worth more than how you feel. If you find something beautiful to focus on, you can begin to look at the world differently. It is like discovering things for the first time, and it pushes you away from the darkness.”

Perhaps our decision today, no matter where we are emotionally, is to focus on something beautiful!


hope that began on Christmas morning

Questions Stirred on Christmas Morning

As I pondered the topics of hope and hopelessness, many questions stirred in my mind. It seemed important to frame my questions within the context of a personal relationship with a friend or family member. This fictional story was written to set the stage for the important questions I wanted to ask.

Memories of Christmases Past

We were nestled comfortably under the large green branches of our Christmas tree, the same artificial prickly one that had graced our living room as long as I could remember. As children, my sister and I loved Christmas morning.  She especially was filled with anticipation, each year coming into my room long before dawn to insist that we peek at the pile of presents we knew awaited us.

Her yearly ritual began with an official counting of the presents; whose pile was bigger and who had the largest gift. Next, she would cajole my parents until finally, dreary-eyed and coffee in hand, they joined us around the tree.

My sister needed no sign of approval to begin. While I savored each gift and lightly lifted the tape that held the wrapping paper in place, she unceremoniously ripped each shred of colorful paper from its box, tossing it carelessly behind her. Next, she would quickly survey the gift and place it into a growing side-pile before moving quickly to the next wrapped gift. At the end of her frantic routine, she would select her favorite present and keep it in her grip for the remainder of the day.

Questions Stirred on Christmas Morning

Pleasant Christmas memories built one upon another, until we held to an unquestioning belief that Christmas would always be a wonderful day.

It seems we were programmed by yesterday’s experiences to anticipate what tomorrow would hold. Based on that, I have begun to wonder, do yesterday’s experiences create a foundation of hope?

And if hope is built upon yesterday’s experiences, what does it mean for the one who has never been programmed by the beauty of yesterday? And what does it mean for the one whose present circumstances speak more loudly than the positivity of yesterday?

Those are the questions that stirred in my mind last Christmas morning, as I looked over at my now adult sister. We were comfortably nestled on the couch, wrapped in warm and snuggly blankets, not so different from our childhood. Gone, however, was the joy of the morning. Her eyes seeped loneliness, and her hands no longer reached in anticipation. Instead of her favorite present, she clutched despair in the emptiness of her own hands. Or, perhaps more accurately, the emptiness of despair clutched her.

Though I enticed her with thoughts of yesterday and anticipation of the future, I knew she could not see the beauty of life that I still saw.

Looking for Answers

And so, on that Christmas morning, my heart was stirred to question:

What does her hopelessness feel like?

Is there any chance that a remnant of hope still exists within her dark world?

And is there anything that might trigger a rebirth of hope?

To help me answer these questions, I turned to others who could share from their own experiences.

Click here to read Part One of their responses.

Click here to read Part Two of their responses.