What’s it mean to have hope?

I have a morning ritual of reading the newspaper while I drink my coffee.  Maybe you have a similar ritual.  Or maybe you are a little more techie and you get your news from the Internet.  Or maybe you avoid getting your day started by reading the news.  That’s not a bad idea, either. 

I do a lot of head-shaking when I read the news.  So much of it is pretty bleak.  And like my, you may have days where you just have to ask: “How are we going to get through this?” 

Good question.  The starting place is hope. 

Dictionary.com defines hope as “the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.” 

I often wonder if facing a chronic condition like diabetes doesn’t give you a leg up in terms of knowing how to live in these challenging times.  After all, who better understands how to live with uncertainty, to cope with setbacks, to appreciate the simple joys of life, and to keep pushing forward.  Taking the best possible care of yourself even on those days when that’s the last thing you feel like doing?  Because that’s what you do every day.    

Psychologists call that resilience.  The ability to recover or adjust to misfortune or change.  In other words, picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and getting back on the path.     

In my mind, being resilient starts with being hopeful.   

Like you, I have a lot of responsibilities and obligations that I have to manage, a lot of competing priorities.  I do my best to make maintaining my sense of hope one of those priorities.  Basically, exercising my resiliency muscles. 

I do this by starting the day with what I am grateful for.  What’s working in my life.  My wishes for the health and welfare of the people around me – including you – and the people that I don’t know personally, but I do know are also suffering in some way.  A belief in possibilities.  Hope.  

I remind myself that we are all in this together.  All of us connected because we are humans, doing our best with the resources we have.  Yes, some of us seem to be doing better than others, not to mention trying a little harder.  But I also tell myself that that’s not for me to know or understand. 

 If you’re living with a chronic condition, nobody knows hopefulness like you do.  When I was a kid, we sang a song in church called “Pass it on.”  I still sing it to myself (believe me, nobody else would want to hear me sing).  Maybe this is your day to share your wisdom.  And your own definition of hope.  Somebody needs to hear it.