There is a way beyond hope


girl walking

Because you know, sometimes hope dies. And it seems like the end of the world, since we’re conditioned to conclude that when it happens, we have nothing left. It won’t (can’t) last forever, but sometimes it goes on for a long time and there’s no predicting when things will change. So what to do in the meantime?

I Googled “what do you do when hope dies?”.

You can imagine the predictable inspirational messages. All of which are lovely. Really. But not very helpful for everyone in the same way and at all times.

When we don’t get what we need the most, there’s only so long we can go on inventing excuses and explanations. Maybe we’re not positive enough in our visualizations or lack sufficient trust. Maybe we didn’t try hard enough (oh yes we did, and then some). Maybe it’s not what we really need (nope, that’s not it). Maybe it’s not the right time (seriously? and the right time will be in which century?). Or my favorite, the gods have other, better plans (sure, tell that to the kids blown to pieces or starving or being abused every day).

Clearly when hope dies, we get very cranky.

For some, faith and a sunny temperament work to create energy, joy and more hope. But it’s not like that for everyone. And it doesn’t mean people necessarily suffer from depression or something else. It simply means that they’ve had it with pointless struggle, had it with poetry, have reached their limit for tolerating disappointment and nonsense, and are now looking for answers that do not involve the wearing of rose-tinted glasses, the begging of more deities for mercy, or jumping on some guru’s positivity wagon.

After scrolling through pages of memes and countless forums, I finally found it. A simple, honest, unscripted comment.

When all hope is gone, you sit down with your music and a treat,  and you look at the frightening, desolate landscape in your mind and heart. You look at it until you’ve taken it all in, and then…then you tell yourself that you will simply see things to the end, come what may.

It’s neither defeat nor optimism. It’s a mixture of logic, defiance and acceptance, unaltered by romanticized expectations.

I said it in another post. When you’ve got nothing left to lose (ok, there’s always something left, but you know what I mean), you inherit a freedom you can’t have otherwise.

You can turn away from those people and things that are impenetrable and immune to love, honesty, tenderness and loyalty. You can look at pain and laugh and inform it that you know what it can do and you’re not scared of it anymore. You can look at all those around you desperately chasing goals, or running away from opportunities, and experience a sense of relief. Because you’re no longer in that race.

You’re simply walking, doing what you need to do, one day at a time, embracing all of your emotions, no longer ashamed of your scars, no longer caring what others will think of you when they notice you’re not wearing a mask. You’re no longer afraid of being honest, of insisting on certain standards. You no longer expect punishment or rewards. You’re no longer afraid of mistakes and you no longer settle for things that insult your soul.

You may not be happy, but you’re walking. And sometimes that is all you can do. There is no shame in it. It will be what it will be, it will take how long it will take, and in the meantime you’ll keep walking.

So yes, there is a way beyond hope. There is always a way.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Very well written, awesome perspective on this. I think the comment you found is spot on. Sometimes all there’s left to do is take some time to dive into the depths of your mind, which is incredibly challenging in its own way, then carry on and start walking, as you put it.


    1. Joanna L. says:

      Thank you Alex for taking the time to comment, I’m glad this resonates with you as well.


  2. Peter says:

    Good and relevant post kiddo, we all get to that place many times in our lives. I’ve been there many times, when you feel like you have just have nothing left to give. You still have the desire, the ideas, the creativity, the knowledge and expertise but you just don’t have the strength to go on.

    A lady pastor who I admire greatly once told me that one thing all leaders have in common whatever field they may serve in whether it be politics, business, religion, education or whatever, is the need to have a strong drive and motivation, and a way to continuously replenish that to avoid burnout.

    I like your comment about music.

    I also find music to be of great restorative power. One of the greatest secrets I have found in my life is how to restore my soul.

    The Bible says

    Isaiah 40:31

    But those who wait on the Lord
    Shall renew their strength;
    They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
    They shall run and not be weary,
    They shall walk and not faint.

    The best way I’ve found to wait on the Lord is to spend time in God’s presence and the greatest way to do that is through worship. It’s literally like plugging yourself into a battery charger and you can feel the power level rising and the cares of this world dropping off.

    I had a tough day yesterday. Mum’s quintuple heart op went well, but they couldn’t stop the bleeding. Yesterday afternoon they went back to theatre, opened her up again, and found a leaking artery from the surgery grafts which was the source of the bleeding. I was very confident about the first operation that she would be ok, but I was worried about the second one.

    Then they took her in again at 4 this morning because they found blood clots in her heart. An hour later they were confident that all was well and the bleeding had stopped.

    I thought yesterday about ringing Mum to ask her advice, and realised I couldn’t do it because she is intubated in ICU, and then I began to think about the time when she has gone to be with the Lord and will never be able to offer me advice, and I was feeling very alone and vulnerable.

    I have a wonderful family and great friends, but still needed more. I remember very clearly the same feeling when we lost my Dad, and the power I felt when I spent time alone with God then.

    You’re right, there IS a way beyond hope 🙂


    1. Joanna L. says:

      Thank you for the wonderful comment Peter. ❤ to you and your mom.


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