Hope: More Than a Word.

By Connor BeaulieuJuly 24, 2013

Where is hope?

Where does it reside when we need it most?

Why was I so lucky to find it just as all seemed lost?

These are questions I asked myself one day while responding to emails, something TWLOHA interns spend hours doing each week. No one message in particular had prompted these ideas; rather, I sought a deeper understanding of the person I was as I wrote to others about hope. For a while, I remained unable to focus on my work. I had spent days and weeks presenting a dialogue about hope and answering these questions for others—but I was unsure if I had ever sat down and answered them for myself.

“Why was I so lucky to find hope just as all seemed lost?”

If I had to define the word “hope,” I’d label it as the heart’s uttermost desire for something. We all hope for a better future, a future full of love and happiness.

Words in and of themselves are powerful. We can use them to make people laugh or cry, anger or calm someone, progress or deter something, convey strength or weakness. Whichever way we use words, they allude to greater things than just definitions. Thus, when I use “hope,” I desire to make it more than the word itself.

Everyone should be able to attain hope whenever they so need it. However, many of us understand that hope can be more elusive than that. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by life, even by all of the good things we are supposed to appreciate, and thus, devoid of hope.

They say hope is like a river; I say it is more like an ocean. Either way, it’s constantly moving, constantly changing. We can get lost in it, or we can see the great continents ahead in the distance. In my head, I have this wonderful sense of love and appreciation for the time I existed without hope—mainly because I can love and appreciate where I am now, what I am doing now, in contrast.

Why am I writing all of this? Why am I belaboring about words, and definitions, and things that may seem far off? Because if you are reading this, maybe you are searching for answers, and every word you read is another chance you give yourself to find them.

You are stronger than you think. You permeate your life with hope just by reading these words. You are building a vocabulary grounded in that heartfelt desire, resulting in your ability to live a better life.

I may never be able to truly answer the questions I raised above. No one really can. Love and happiness elude our grasp many a time—but what never wavers is our ability to chase these things, to live one more day pursuing change, hoping for something better.

I am in recovery: recovery from self-harm, self-medication, and depression. But I found solace in the fact that I can chase a better life for myself. I hope you can, too. I hope you know that I love you always, and I will stand by your side. I hope you know that your fight is my fight, and together, we can be proud and strong.

At TWLOHA, our hearts are heavy for all that you have struggled with. Our hearts bear the weight of our own struggles, too. We all need hope in dark places. But if I’ve learned anything through my struggles, it’s that finding the constants in life is the biggest precursor for change and growth. So, please know that in your dark times, we can relate. We understand, and we love you always.

Hope exists. Believe me, it does. Transcendent, omnipresent, enduring, forever and always … Hope exists.

Summer 2013 TWLOHA Intern

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Comments (28)

  1. A dear friend

    Absolutely beautiful.

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  2. Anonymous

    you have no idea how much i needed to read something like this.

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  3. scared

    you have no idea how close I am to giving up. Thank you for this and all the encouraging posts. They help.

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  4. Survivor

    I have been clean for 3 months now. I did it and I know everyone has the strength to as well. This is such an inspirational article!

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  5. lovesick

    You have no idea how much I needed this right now. This definitely stopped me from relapsing again tonight, and that’s more than I could ever ask for. Thanks for posting this.

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  6. Ruth

    Thank you, Connor! My hands shake as I write this. I’m weeping with both fear but with hope. I know things can and will get better for me and how I will become the woman I am meant to be.

    Reply  |  
  7. Can

    Thank you for this beautiful message.

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  8. Jess

    Connor, you have no idea how much reading this has improved my day. You have a great talent with words and you’re obviously so skilled with helping others. Thank you for saying things that I wish I could hear from people in my life, but never have (” I hope you know that I love you always, and I will stand by your side. I hope you know that your fight is my fight”). All the best to you with your recovery and future endeavors. People like you make the world a better, brighter, more hopeful place.

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  9. Candice

    And have such a hard time finding our way out of the darkness. Thank you Connor for finding the time to not only write this but to post this as well.

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  10. Janice

    Very well said. Thank you for the encouragement and hope to go on.

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  11. Janice

    Very well said. Thank you for the encouragement and hope to go on.

    Reply  |  
  12. Terry

    Thank you,as I was laying down reading this,I was feeling why do I keep trying. I see nothing changing. But with hope I can keep going knowing God is with me and that his timing is perfect.

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  13. Savannah

    I was diagnosed with Depression and Suicidal Ideations in the summer of 2010. I found out about Self-Injury , and thought “If it helps ‘them’, it’ll me.” I never quite understood what I was doing to myself and the ones around me who loved me dear. I was hurting them as I tore myself apart day by day, bottling everything up, keeping it a secret about what I’ve been doing to myself. It all started out so small, and escalated into something so sad. But, I have been 5 months of self-injury. Self-injury should not be taken lightly. My best friend did it, and it tore me apart. She’s been 2-3 months clean. I love her. Love is the movement!

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  14. David

    My university has been working for the past two years and is continuing to figure out a way to make a connection with TWLOHA that doesn’t cost each person an arm and a leg, but we’ve come to call ourselves WeAreHope on our campus. The name is much more than a name, it’s a calling, a purpose, a mission statement, a unity – we are the hope others see…they see that we have been there, gone through whatever muck and mire, and they know that it’s possible to come out on top, and that we are there to join them and encourage them and support them in that journey. Together, WeAreHope.

    ps. it was also sort of born out of the WEARe TWLOHA campaign. 🙂

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  15. Marcia

    Thank you. Today has been a hard day, one on which I feel I have been suddenly dragged back many years into a dark place…surprised at the overwhelm, although I have had much healing & joy… I was encouraged by this message! Thanks so much! TWLOHA always helps!

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  16. Jordan

    You’re Right, This Fight Is All Of Ours, So There’s No Reason To Feel Alone In It. We’re All In This Together.

    Reply  |  
  17. kristie

    I love this and i love TWLOHA.

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  18. Anonymous

    Thank you. Thank you.

    Reply  |  
  19. Allen Keller

    I am the emerging adult pastor at our church where I often lead our Contemporary Worship, which is called, “Spirit Of Hope”.

    I am using this – actually I feel obligated to include this in worship tomorrow – you are so right that words are powerful – and I believe God is using you through your very good words!

    I love Jesus
    I love you
    I love TWLOHA too
    thank you ALL for your witness to HOPE

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  20. Kimberly McGee

    Because of this organization, because of people like you, I am coming up on my 6 year recovery mark for self-harm. Thank you. This organization never fails to prove to me that hope is real.

    Lots of love from California coming to you. <3 I can't wait to be where you are.

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  21. Kirsty

    Thanks. Today was one of the worst days I’ve had for a long time and this appeared right when I needed it at 3.50am x

    Reply  |  
  22. Leah Meyer

    My first thought as well…”Absolutely Beautiful”. Thank you for love,for strength,for a sense of unity and for HOPE. Thank God for you and the gift you give in sharing. Much love to you♥

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  23. Anonymous

    Right now, I can’t see my future. Heck, I can’t even see tomorrow. No dreams. Nothing to persevere about. But I know that if hope lives inside me, I can endure.

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  24. a girl who needed to read this

    I truly needed to hear this tonight. I needed to see these words and to feel them. I needed a reminder that there could be hope in my life and that I could have a future and that I will have one. Even though I am not floating in the ocean if hope you talk about I just have to believe I will soon abandon this desert and become what I deserve. thank you

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  27. june

    If it does, then why do people make it so much harder to believe in? Where is hope? Why do people take advantage of someone and then leave them feeling like trash? Why can’t I find the right answers on my own? Why can’t I stop caring or crying about someone who is clearly using me as a place to dump their troubles on? Why am I trying so hard to understand why their life is upside down, even when it is hurting me?

    Reply  |  
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