Guest post by Ted Cole/@crossrdofchange
Once you choose hope, anything’s possible” – Christopher Reeve
“Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark” – George Iles
I am delighted to feature Wellness Coach and Writer, Ted Cole to expand on one of my favorite topics, the power of hope. Ted and I met through his wife Cate Russell-Cole when Ted emailed me with his thoughts on how hope has worked in his life. He has some interesting thoughts about how hope is a choice we all have.
The Power of Hope
My interest in hope started just after surviving a series of life challenges. These challenges came in quick succession, barely allowing me to take a breath in between. I became unemployed, when my job of 25 years disappeared through downsizing; then divorced after a 25 year marriage. The challenges progressed into a full-blown life crisis, where I questioned whether or not I was getting what I wanted from life. Then the truth hit me… I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Without any life purpose, I had no direction and a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness pursued. I was truly drowning in despair. I became clinically depressed and stressed, which resulted in a serious of related medical problems. I was hanging on by a thread.
How I could have survived all of this? That is where “the power of hope” comes in. I remember sitting under a tree in a park reading a self-help book and desperately seeking a solution. One of the chapters was on change. In essence, the message was that we are the product of the accumulated changes in our lives. Now, surprisingly that chapter did not mention something which came quite intuitively to me. That being, that if we are the product of our changes, then it must follow that we are the product of our choices. That became the spark I needed to move forward. It became evident that hope would not just happen, instead it had to be as a result of a conscious choice. I could choose to do nothing and continue down the spiral of despair, or I could choose to make choices which would lead me along a path of becoming more hopeful.
In my despair and depression, reality became quite surreal. That seemed to make me gravitate towards writing as a means of recording what was happening. This was a journal of sorts, a way of slowing down and giving more meaning to what was happening, thereby making it real. This grounded me, which led to me to ponder my real purpose in life. With a lot of soul-searching I discovered that my purpose is helping others who have been drawn off-course by events in their lives. This eventually led me to my pursuit of Intentional Living. I realized how close I had been to being spiritually bankrupt and I got back to my Christian roots, which was the missing link in the chain.
Looking back, my progression was that I first viewed hope as a separate entity (this was a symptom of my spiritual bankruptcy); which then developed into my belief that hope and faith were intertwined (my faith rediscovered). However, a more recent revelation occurred to me, which was that hope could only come from a foundation of faith.
Faith and Hope compliment each other and work together as “the power of hope.”
After a lot of research as to how other people define hope, I have come to the conclusion that hope, like faith, love, compassion, joy and happiness, is unique to each person.
Each of us defines what hope is in our own context, and the power that can be derived from it.
The following is my summation of lessons learned about the power of hope and faith:
1 Faith is the foundation of hope. Without faith as the foundation, hope becomes empty and false.
2 Faith provides the confidence and assurance of what we are hoping for.
3 Without faith and hope you cannot move forward with your life’s purpose.
4 Faith is the belief that the unseen will happen, hope is the energy we put into nurturing it.
5 Transforming Purpose and Hope into fulfillment takes a high degree of Determination and courage (I call this PHD – there will be more on PHD on my blog).
6 Excuses do not support a path to hope, only action will pave that path. I personally have to be actively participating, or at least influencing an outcome, to remain hopeful.
7 Hope, like acts of encouragement, joy, love and kindness, are all magical gifts which we can give in abundance; never having to worry about depleting their stores.
8 The power of hope thrives when we joyfully embrace it and are truly thankful for it.
Hope is the flame on the candle of faith. The flame of hope can flicker and dim, but it can never be extinguished by life’s challenges, as long as we maintain our foundation of faith.
May your flame of hope shine brightly, to help light the path for others.
Thank you ,Ted, for sharing your personal journey of how the power of hope has worked in your life. I especially appreciate the idea that hope is a choice, rooted in faith. I also agree that hope is unique to each person.
How about you? We may all have a different way of finding hope in our lives. How has the power of hope worked for you? We’d love to hear from you. Please leave your comments below~
Next Week: “Music Matters in Memoir Writing: A Reflection”