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