“It’s worse than it’s ever been. I just had to order another box of body bags.” Those words seared me and I was filled with two converse emotions: grief and hope. Day after day my brother rises early to put in another 12 plus hour shift as a critical care nurse. This vocation he has faithfully carried out for over twenty years. Pre-pandemic his world was filled with accident victims, severely ill individuals, and those recovering from surgery. For the last nine months his work world has been dominated and now overwhelmed by Covid.
Frankly, I’m glad that both my brother and I felt a strong sense of shared grief over his present reality. To not do so would have meant we had either accepted this enormous human tragedy, or worse, had become numb to it. Grief makes sense and is a healthy response, but hope?
You see, my brother actually holds hope for me. After all the suffering and death that confronts him, he gets up and works another 12 exhausting hours. Amidst all he has experienced my brother continues, knowing that his skill can at most help save another human’s life and at least provide them comfort and care in their last earthly moments. Faced with a daunting and unrelenting reality he keeps showing up. That in many respects is the epitome of hope.
“What does hope do for humanity? Hope shines brightest when the hour is darkest. Hope motivates when discouragement comes. Hope energizes when the body is tired. Hope sweetens when the bitterness bites. Hope sings when all melodies are gone. Hope believes when the evidence is eliminated. Hope listens for answers when no one is talking. Hope climbs over obstacles when no one is helping. Hope endures hardship when no one is caring. Hope smiles confidently when no one is laughing. Hope reaches for answers when no one is asking. Hope presses toward victory when no one is encouraging. Hope dares to give when no one is sharing.” John Maxwell
Holding hope is that space that moves to the core of our being. Contrast that with “giving me hope” which is often more of a good feeling. Holding hope is experienced in that place of – with every fiber of my being – I believe change is coming. So who holds hope for you? Who are the people in your life that in word, action or being hold hope for you? And as importantly, who in your world could you hold hope for?