Hope is not optimism. The two are closely related but are still distinguishable from each other. I think optimism is seeing the proverbial glass as half-full. I think hope is being able to see the good or expect goodness even when the glass is indeed half-empty or in situations where there is no glass at all. Both are important – optimism and hope – but I think hope is the more important of the two.
In a fallen world, hope, like faith, is often the hardest thing to hold onto especially when you need it the most. As a person of faith, hope is not just something I harbor in terms of believing that everything that happens, simply just happens. Nor do I believe that it is within my capacity to be able to deal with all of life’s uncertainties in the limited concept of human reasoning.
I don’t believe I can understand everything; I don’t even know that in our current human experience, that it is even wise to want to understand and explain everything. I have the hope that God who is love and truth, knows all. And to me, that is where hope comes in – believing that though I don’t know the answers, that they do exist and that whatever happens, though I don’t know the reasons, happens for ultimately, the greater good.
As human beings, I think one of our greatest faults is our historical amnesia. We often forget the value of past experiences and especially how we survived them, in the face of new challenges. Simply existing on this earth is challenging – there is no life without struggle. I think hope gives us the energy to live despite challenges, to love despite uncertainty, and to embrace both who we are in the moment and what we may become, without fear of what we do not know.
Hope, like faith is often the hardest thing to hold onto especially when you need it the most.But the only other option in those moments is despair. And while despair is humbling and quite natural, hope goes beyond natural; hope is supernatural especially in moments of darkness. And I guess this supernatural way of living may be ludicrous to some; it may be even ludicrous to one’s own self. But in hope, the ridiculous is allowed. Because if you don’t hope when all the chips are down, when everything around you is disastrous and despairing, do you really hope at all?