Updated: Apr 2, 2020
Hope is essential to our health, our mental and emotional ability to handle stress and our capacity to overcome difficulty or hardship.
What do I know of hope? Ten years ago I almost died from an obscure disease. I was 85 lbs soppin' wet holding my purse. With inter-cranial pressure on my brain that was stealing my vision for almost 18 months and blocked jugular veins that would cause my heart to start and stop. It was a dark wilderness of despair.
I can tell you this, that in the pit of hell in that disease, steeped in darkness and despair, had I not had hope, I wouldn’t have survived. I wouldn’t have healed.
Wishing is something we think about at Christmas time or in a childlike fashion. Wish I’d get that promotion, wish I could find a better job. What would happen if we took our wishing into a deeper place of belief in ourselves and the people around us? How could that affect the capacity of our hope and our outlook in the circumstance? Would that kind of deep anchoring hope unlock obstacles and opportunities?
Or are we hoping in the wrong context? I hope the creditors don’t call today. I hope my sister doesn’t die from cancer. I hope I don’t get hurt in this relationship again.
What’s the difference between wishing and hoping?
To wish means to feel or express a strong desire for something that is not easily attainable, to want something that cannot or probably will not happen.
I wish I could play for the Kansas City Chiefs. I wish I didn’t have to do my taxes this year.
“Hope implies the expectation of obtaining the good desired or possibility of possessing it.”
To hope is a belief that it is obtainable. It implies some expectation of obtaining the good desired, or possibility of possessing it. Therefore, it always gives pleasure or joy, whereas wish and desire may produce or be accompanied with pain and anxiety. Confidence in a future event; the highest degree of well-founded expectation of good… the source of ineffable, unspeakable happiness. (Websters 1828 dictionary)
We are way beyond a Barbie dreamhouse or new bicycle here. Not a wishing kind of hope. It’s a believing kind of hope. Maybe more of a Charlie Brown Christmas kind of hope, where it’s about something deeper in meaning. Maybe some of us as children got to experience this kind of hope. An expectation, good things are coming, belief in Santa Claus kind of hope. Maybe some of us did not.
Hope triggers a virtual cycle in us all. It is based on our childlike understanding of hope. Was it wishing, was it denial, was it hope? Hope is it is not something we consciously think about. When a situation comes up in our lives, we either have hope or we don’t. It comes from a well or reservoir built over years of history and experience. When we need it, there is either water in the well or there isn’t. We either approach trauma and trial with hope or we don’t.