Hope for the Long Haul

“It’s a long and winding road”, the Beatles got that right. I’ve been thinking about hope–not just to get me through today or tomorrow and not just for this crisis or that problem but a hope that endures–a hope for the long haul.

There’s not much these days that seems to last very long. From political scandals to Hollywood marriages, from fashion trends to technological advances, it’s always changing.

I, quite frankly, can’t keep up.Vintage-Old-Phone

So I started thinking about things that last–that endure.

Endure–not exactly a winner in the most-popular-word contest but a good word nonetheless. Endure, however, does have some heavy baggage to overcome. To most of us, endure seems to means to tolerate an excruciatingly annoying or painful situation, and that is part of it, BUT (I don’t always love buts BUT in this case I do)  there’s more: to endure can be defined as

the strength to undergo (hardship) without giving in;

to tolerate or accept (put up with);

to continue in the same state (not let circumstances influence you);

to remain firm under suffering or misfortune without yielding.

Endure, enduring, endurance–all speak of strength and HOPE.

Unlike fashion, hope doesn’t ever go out of style.

Consider a posingforyourphotographersister.jpgfew of endure’s siblings:

abide

stand

last

persist

continue.

I think of a reed that bends but doesn’t break. Endure was first used in the 14th century (wonder what was happening then?) from a word meaning to harden. It’s true that long lasting trials can make us hard–hard-hearted–but that’s not this kind of hard. Think of something becoming hard in a way that makes it stronger until it becomes impervious (another great word–it means not capable of being affected, disturbed, damaged or harmed) to the changing world around it. I think of giant trees that have endured or wood that has been sealed so that water can’t get in.OldMotorCar.jpg

When we have learned to endure with hope,  I think we come to a place that we can have peace in spite of what is happening around us. I have seen in some people who have survived horrific circumstances and not gotten bitter. They seem to be saying, I have survived–endured–and have found myself stronger than before.

So how do we develop a hope that can endure?  We need a hope that is obtainable, sustainable and maintainable.

Dog-with-a-pipe-015Obtainable– remember that hope must be grounded in reality otherwise it is just wishful thinking.

I would love to have hope that I will never barf again,

my kids would never have any problems,

my husband would be completely healed from his brain injury(I may hold out for that one),

I will never have a conflict with anyone,

never watch a loved one die,

never have to deal with addictions.

Never hear the words:

cancer,

rape,

unemployment,

war,

mass shooting.

Darn that reality principle of hope…

ferriswheel.jpgSustainable–Hope has to be more than just an emotional longing. Emotions are wonderful but they are not sustainable. We have to choose to have hope, to look for hope even in the midst of the worst of days–in spite of

mood (what day is it?),

income (never quite enough),

weight (a few less pounds would be nice),

relationship status (he loves me, she loves me not),

weather (who knows?),

presidential candidates ( I can’t even…). We can choose hope–to be HOPE-full–and that is sustainable.

old-timer-structural-worker.jpgMaintainable. Hope is not upgrade optional. As the world around us is adapting so must our hope. We do maintenance/upgrades on our

cars,

homes,

computers

and even ourselves (thank you, Miss Clairol).

So it is with our hope. It requires regular check ups.

Is my hope being nurtured and encouraged?

Is is current and relevant to my life now?

The truth is that life is always changing…always.

Stagecoach-Western.jpg

Hope that lasts requires a faith in something or someone bigger than ourselves. It says in Hebrews 6:19 (the Bible) that we have this hope as an anchor for our souls. When we have a hope that is based in reality, not just an emotion, regularly checked on,  AND linked, like an anchor chain, to a faith in God, we have a hope that can last.

 

 

Heidi Mull, packing my bags for the long haul.

 

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