Saturday, September 5, 2009

What Is Hope?

The school I work at and spend countless hours in has a hope focus this year.  We've always had character education focuses that change with the months.  Things like perseverance, respect, caring, etc.  These are things we are expected to teach the children in our classrooms.  This year things are different.  This year we are instructing "hope".

As all staff have been instructed to create "Hope bags" I've felt a bit of quandary, what precisely is hope?  I've always been spiritual.  My stint at the Cross Cancer Institute has only deepened that belief.  Is hope different than faith?  When I think back to that time in my life I remember the man in the bed beside me, and his wife sitting beside him holding his hand while he received treatment.  He had terminal brain cancer and they were selling their house, pulling their children out of school and traveling the world as a family, spending time as a family before his time ran out.  Before he became to weak to be a husband, brother, father, son.  Is that hope?  I know it taught me my lot in life isn't that horrible.  I was, after all, one of the lucky ones.  I know I will forever remember this man and his wife and their strength of spirit.  Positivity emanated from them.

Is hope a child whose future looms bright in front of them?  Is hope your family?  I think back to my grandmother, who was abandoned by her family and raised in a convent, who went on to lead a productive and positive life.  Her strength, grace and faith - is this hope?  Or is hope the cycle of the seasons?  Where life renews itself endlessly.  

Tonight I became a believer in hope.  I may not fully understand what it is but as I sat and watched my dogs play with such vigor and spirit, I knew I could believe in hope.  I watched Joey playing and saw the absolute joy in which he existed.  The look on his face staring up at me positively beamed with unconditional love.  And I knew what hope is.  Hope is a dog whose faith in mankind has been crushed yet still has the ability to love a man (or woman in this case).  Surely that must be hope.

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