Saturday, April 18, 2009

Dealing with Loss and Hopelessness

We feel it after holidays... an emptiness we just want to escape from. The good time’s over already and we suffer drastically from a lack of hope. Yet, the following day or following week this ‘grieving’ is mysteriously gone and life’s normal again--go figure! All we can know is somehow our minds have adapted back to normality again, fortunately. The hell of hopelessness is gone, for now.

Hopelessness by its very nature is like death but it’s different in that we can’t help reflecting back on better times and lamenting how bad we’re off, now, in that moment.

And what we need, if we’re trying to restore our hope (and not all want to restore their hope--some unfortunately love languishing in hopelessness) is to see we’re not so isolated. We need to resonate and relate our suffering with the world.

We feel better to know the next person feels the same, or at least knows of our pain. Somehow the feeling’s not so raw; it’s halved when we know others feel the same way or at least have felt similarly. This is the great salve of likewise fellowship--those in recovery to addictions, for instance, without the normal strength of hope draw upon each other for light and hope in group therapy.

No less than eleven times the Bible tells that our ‘hope is’ in God. He is a sure hope and a strong foundation for it. We will never be put to shame in hoping in him (Psalm 25:3) because his love is unfailing (Psalm 33:18).

Yet, the greatest and bravest truth lies in the fact that when we’re in the midst of disappointment, torment and regret--and in the personal work associated with it--we’ve got hope right there before us, in our very near future. We have it all to look forward to. Hopefulness is bound to return.

Biblically, we could conclude with the words of Paul:

“But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express”
–Romans 8:24b-26 (NIV).

We can’t see hope, which makes it just like faith. But the Spirit of God knows how to help us when we are feeling hopeless, if we place ourselves consistently in his hands, that is. We can’t explain this; it’s a total mystery of God that only he could explain. This is why it’s called faith. We never get the answers, we must simply believe in faith. And it works, somehow.

Hope, essentially, is looking forward to things, or perhaps better put, having things to look forward to. Hope is balance, and a task of maintenance. We need to attain it and maintain it, or regain and retain it.

Getting back to the post-holiday scenario, perhaps the wisest thing to do prior to going on holidays (and during the holiday time) is to foresee that eventually we must return; and, by virtue of that fact, we must find things there to look forward to.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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