Riding the Wave of Hope

August 20th, 2014

amazing wave“Rainy, gloomy, drab, sunless day.  There are times when hope seems entirely clouded over; when looking for the blessings in your circumstances feels like trying to catch a ray of sunshine from six feet under.” ~ Richelle E. Goodrich

I don’t know about you, but the news has been really getting me down this week. It’s one horror story after another. But then I caught something out of the corner of my eye that changed my whole mood. While tragedy after tragedy played out in graphic detail (journalist beheaded, actor ends his life, war rages, riots flare, Ebola spreads) the words ran across the bottom of the screen, “Family reunited ten years after Tsunami!”

I felt my whole body unclench, like a massive exhale of relief. There ARE incredible, hopeful things happening all around me. It’s just that they aren’t newsworthy. Why? Because the newsmakers feed our most primal need for sensation and fear. We get exactly what we ask for.

bottled hopeI looked up the Tsunami family and spent time just soaking in their story. I wanted to bottle the hope. The son and daughter were 4 and 7 when the Tsunami separated them. Who could imagine them being reunited ten years later?

I want every depressed person in the world to see this story and bottle the hope. When it seems like there is no hope left, picture the Indonesian family being reunited after ten tragic years.

I’m going through an interesting stage in my life. I’m riding the waves (sometimes even Tsunamis) more than usual; feeling things more deeply, all the anxiety and all the bliss. “We’ll see” which has grounded me in the past now feels too indifferent.

I’m usually the steady, calm one. But now Meg is saying to me, “You don’t have to ride every wave!”

I’m the one who loves the story of the farmer who loses his horse, and neighbours gather around him to commiserate. He says, “We’ll see!” The tides keep turning. His son breaks his leg riding the horse and avoids being drafted to the army. Yada yada yada, he stays grounded through it all. “We’ll see”, he keeps saying.

I’ve always held on to “we’ll see!” but now Meg is the calm and steady one, while I go up and down with the daily fluctuations of fate. I’m looking for small moments of hope to hang on to. Sometimes it only feels like a thread. Meg has a point. I’m not helping myself by chasing every tide. And yet I feel that I’m experiencing life at both extremes for a reason. I’m learning something new here.

I can’t help wondering if there is a partial truth in “we’ll see” and another partial truth in riding the waves. Maybe we need to do both in some kind of balance. Caring enough to hold on and ride every experience for all it’s worth, and trusting enough to let go and let it all happen without chasing outcomes.

Maybe hope is the space in between. Not hope that is passive, like resignation. Hope that puts a spring in your step when you need it, and keeps you moving forward without knowing all the answers.

For now, I will bottle the image of the Indonesian family being reunited and see where that wave takes me. Hope works for me like that awesome airport scene in the movie Love Actually,

Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.

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  1. Jo-Anne says:

    This past two months I have had to deal with the death of my mother, a long time friend, and then a new border in our home (who I knew as he was a child). I thought what else could be put on my plate ?I do not even want to watch the news as there is so little hope there is well.Last night my border whose partners I know very well told me that their son (border) came home to be with then two evenings ago. They had to kick him out of the house because he was wasting his days away in there home with little hope of doing anything. Their son told them he was now living at my place. The joy and hope that I experienced on their faces last night was something anyone could be blessed with as their son was now working full-time, and growing into a young man as an entrepreneur. They thanked me for taking him in and enabling him to heal their relationships. They have found their family and starting a new page in their relationships.Thanks  you for your reflection as it has brought hope for me in time I thought I was indeed in search of it. Blessings on your day!    

  2. martie says:

    Thank you for this… I am in the middle of a war… and it has not been easy.  Sirens.. rockets…. terrorists coming thru tunnels wanting to kill our children.   It has been frightening and at times I must admit I have lost hope.  Reading your passage here was most inspiring and I shall try now and cling to those thoughts.  I feel the world has gone mad and I need to remember your words on hope… for without that… there just is nothing…..thank you once again.  God bless…..

  3. Anne Dalrymple says:

    Thank you, Ian, for another inspirational article, it seems every time I read these, I find I understand it completely.  On awakening this morning after a short sleep, I considered that perhaps I don’t have to involve myself  in every campaign that’s close to my heart which generally relates to Man’s  Inhumanity to Man because it can be exhausting! I step back sometimes and just allow compassion to flow, which is so calming.  Now, as in write, I realise that this is who I am – a campaigner for freedom and peace but if I can introduce love in every action, I can play a better part in the world.  I am so grateful to live in a beautiful country where I can walk freely, there’s little violence and I have a roof over my head – I have so much.  With love and peace, Anne, Edinburgh, Scotland. ps I love to watch people reuniting with family and friends at airports – so much joy!

  4. Roxy says:

    Thank you so much for this. 

  5. Thanks, that’s a nice perspective to keep in one’s daily life.

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