Hope: believing something good may happen

There are many variations and degrees of hope.

We may hope to win the lottery; hope it doesn’t rain on a special day; hope the flight is on time; hope for success in getting the job/ house/ part; hope the COVID test is negative; hope the COVID test is positive (get it out of the way before the trip); hope those you love are okay; hope today won’t be too hard … too sad … too lonely.

For some people hope is expressed in terms of gaining something extra in their lives or making a good day even better. For some it can be hope for others. In other cases, it can be hoping they can make it through another day.

How your life is going can change how easy it is for you to find hope.

Looking up through a large tree with very few leaves towards the bright sun on a crisp, clear winter's day.
Looking up from under the dark sea towards a row boat with six oars, lit by the moonlight above.
Sunrise of bright colours (from bright orange to light violet) over a tree-lined landscape.

I tend to have more hope filled days than not. I can find hope fairly easily for myself and others. At times though, like most people, there are days when finding that glimmer of hope can be a battle.

During tough times, I am lucky enough to have those “lifter-uppers” in my life who help me find hope (see earlier blog: Who Makes You Happy?).

Unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone.

A light, bright purple flower, atop of a green stem, embedded in grey shale rocks of all sizes.

“Lifter-uppers can help you find hope.”

During my shifts as a crisis supporter for Lifeline, I come across many people who struggle to find hope. Some have lives so full of darkness, sadness and turmoil, there is little chance to find even a glimmer of hope. They don’t all have the support of lifter-uppers either. These calls are tough, but it is rare that they end without hope. Often callers, despite their considerable struggles, manage to find hope and hold onto it with grit and determination.

I had such a call the other day; a man who has struggled with severe mental health problems for many years. His life is hard by anyone’s standards. He talked to me about his life, how he has been told by doctors that he will never be cured, how he has been told there is no hope. He then told me about the hope he has that his life will improve, how each day is a gift and a possibility that things will get better – and even if they don’t, there is always tomorrow. It is, he said, what keeps him going – that without hope there would be no point for him.

When I talk to people like this, I wonder at their strength and determination to find hope despite the apparent hopelessness, that glimmer of light in the darkness.

Looking up out of small, concrete window from a very dark, thick limestone room. The bright light shines through in a direct, square shape and you can see the colour of the limestone in the window surrounds.

Is that what hope is? Is it, as Desmond Tutu puts it, “… being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”

Perhaps pure, true hope can be found when there seems to be none and when the stakes are high.

Perhaps hope is born out of strength and in turn deepens strength.

Strength to go on …

Strength to be better …

Strength to find joy, peace, love, compassion…

Strength to just be.

Tree roots form into a heart shape on the dirt-filled ground. The heart shape is surrounded by sticks, leaves, fibres from a Bottle Brush flower, and moss.

Mental Strides' Mental Health Consultant, Engel Prendergast smiles warmly at the camera. Engel has her hair back, and is wearing tortoise-shell glasses, a floral scarf and an apricot-coloured shirt.

About the Author:

Engel Prendergast is our Mental Health Consultant, working with organisations and groups to build a culture that supports good mental health.

Engel is an accredited Mental Health First Aid and safeTALK Instructor, and Lifeline Crisis Supporter and Mentor. She holds a Bachelor of Science (Health Promotion), Diploma of Counselling, and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.

With natural compassion, a determination to help others and extensive experience in training and facilitation, Engel provides an environment that fosters learning and ownership.

Highly skilled, experienced and knowledgeable mental health training delivery across Western Australia

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: