This morning the word “hope” is on my mind. As a Christian, I find hope in my belief that God’s grace is freely poured out every day; no matter what decisions I’ve made and no matter how much I’ve hurt myself or others, I am still loved and worthy of love. As a counselor, I find hope in the healing power of the therapeutic relationship. As a writer, I find hope in the power of the written word to capture a moment or help me process a feeling. As a woman recovered from Binge-Eating Disorder, I find hope in the self-compassion I’ve gained over time which has freed me from disordered eating.
A close friend of mine is struggling to maintain hope…hope for renewed connection with loved ones, hope for clarity of vision, and hope for inner peace. As the light of hope grows dim for my friend, I find myself wanting to create hope by doing more — by sharing encouraging words, praying more often, talking about how I made it through my own struggles, and just making life easier. Although I believe my efforts have been quietly appreciated, I realized late last night that creating hope by doing things is less effective than allowing hope to arise by simply being. This knowledge is readily accessible to me in my role as counselor, but has been harder to put into practice in my role as friend.
Being physically and emotionally present with my friend is like sitting in the dark, remote corner of hopelessness while holding a small, lit candle. There is just enough light for both of us to see each other. The light allows me to bear witness to my friend’s pain and allows my friend’s view to broaden ever so slightly. The flame is kept alive not by the frantic doing of things which might expose it to winds strong enough to snuff it out, but by our gentle breathing as we sit still, noticing for the first time, that the pain and sorrow within the darkness have a shape and form that can be explored and journeyed through one breath at a time.
May all of us be the light of hope for someone today.
Peace, joy, and hope,