Friday, February 8, 2008

Where does hope come from

I've been reading a blog called "Attitude of Gratitude". It's a beautiful blog. It's honesty is a wonderful thing to experience. His art is pretty impressive.

He asked the question "Where does hope come from". That is a powerful question. One I want to explore. First lets talk about the difference between wishing and hope.

One day two men were golfing. One we Dr. John Townsend. One told there other that he hoped to marry his current girlfriend. This confused Dr Townsend because it is quite easy to get married. So he asked him why hasn't he already married him after 5 years of dating. Well the woman was quite controlling. So Dr. Townsend asked him how controlling. The man shared some very horrifying stories of a very controlling person. So Dr. Townsend asked the man about what the couple and the woman was doing to change this behavior. The answer was nothing. So Dr. Townsends said this man was not hoping for a change in behavior, he was wishing for it.

The point here is that hope, real hope is based on getting connected to the reality of their experiences. If we look at the 12 steps we see the first set of steps is connecting to the reality of their situation. Realizing that all the lies they told themselves is hurting them and justifying all the bad things they do to themselves and others. The first step to hope is feeling bad about the horrible thing you do. But feeling bad is the act of killing that part of you. It must be grieved and let go. But to make through "the valley of the shadow of death" the grief process we must have a vision of what it will be like. That begins with people who have made it. We borrow the experiences of others and set our sites on those. The seeds of hope come from those with the 6 month's of Sobriety, or 12 months or 5 years or even 20 years. When those lost in hopelessness and pain can see someone who has made it out and living a life worth living, the seeds of hope are planted.

But the seeds have to grow and that comes from working the program and experiencing the change in their lives. Seeing and experiencing relationships that are honest and caring at the same time. Seeing the change that those relationships bring. Knowing that those relationships that they have, have also been where they were. It's the love and honesty from those people that is the water and light that feed the seeds of hope. Every new day spent away from the Drink or drugs or food or meaningless sex is the act that strengthens our hope. Every small step away from the horror of that past life builds our hope.

I met with a friend several weeks ago and she was depressed. A horrible marriage, a bitter custody fight ongoing with a previous marriage, Her mother recently passed and he father knocking on deaths door and poor physical health had her with out hope. We met over coffee and talked. My advice to her was find a reason to hope again. Find a reason to live. She met with her brother and he encouraged her to move in with her Dad and help him in the final stages of his life. She called me that next day, bright eyed and hopefully. She had a way out and a way to rebuild her life. She also had someone to care about. This is where so much of our life's meaning and purpose come from. Caring about others. When we care about others we find purpose. We find meaning. I think this is an important place to find hope. When we have a purpose in this life, we have something to hope for.

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