Such a small word.
And, you guys…I think hope is kind of destroying my life. Well, okay, not destroying, but definitely taking over. Because when I sent you all off to run with the hope baton, you ran. You ran like a beaver was trying to snack on your ankles. If you want to see how many people wrote or were asked to write in HOPE 2012, check this out. It’s crazytown.
And now, after starting this relay and watching that teeny, tiny word unfurl in a thousand different ways…I’m not quite sure what to say about it. I’m a little…umm…
Let’s start, as many of you did, with a definition.
We’ll use the legit, scholarly, not-from-a-lady-on-her-second-glass-of-wine source: Dictionary.com.
Hope: the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.
That’s a start, but it’s certainly not the whole picture. There’s more.
Here are our collective chronicles of hope, written elegantly, poignantly, hilariously, irreverently, and devoutly by you crazy-amazing hordes of writers.
Hope is like a ticker tape of wishes.
I hope my hair grows out (and looks fabulous). I hope my kids end up happy. I hope when I die it turns out we’re all headed for the mothership. I hope that can wear a bikini again in public someday and not show up on People of Walmart. -Mediocrates at How Did I Get Here?
I could go on for days about the things I hope for daily. It is a never-ending and ever-changing and all-encompassing (big and small) list of things. -Confessions of a (not-so-) Super Mom
I hope that my writing touches an audience. I hope that cooler heads prevail. I hope that wisdom is heard. I hope that institutions reform, minds expand, hearts grow, and good triumphs. I hope because in hope we can find strength for action. -Michael J. Altman
My hope is to one day be completely happy with myself, at peace with myself, and to prove that there is something I can contribute. My hope is to one day be a mother. My hope is live a life full of love and without regret. -Linz at From the House of Cole
I HOPE I have a good hair day today. I HOPE Trader Joe’s is not sold out of those vanilla bonbons.…I HOPE Zocalo takes reservations. I HOPE I find something cute at J Crew.… I HOPE that shrilly, shrieky sound doesn’t mean we need a brand new Kenmore. I HOPE Cassidy finds the job of her dreams. Sooner rather than later. -Jodie at Cottage Cheese and Crepe Paper
Our hopes are big, and wild—powerful and fiery. They are almost too big to contain in our hearts.
I see that my fears are merely the flip-side of my hopes; that one almost can’t exist without the other. My hopes are so desperate that the fear that they won’t be realized is burdensome and suffocating. -Kristen Mae at Abandoning Pretense
I hope, albeit cautiously. I worry. I despair. But, I am also an optimist. My work, even though I catalog hate, is born of optimism and the fervent hope that scholarship can help make the world a better place. If we understand how hatred functions, how hope can be a pivot for darker emotions, then maybe we identify the nefarious when it looks harmless. -Kelly J. Baker
Oh the possibilities
in an endless way
flaunting me just a tad bit beyond reach.
…Yet, I still start every single day by thinking “today is the day“.
-Marie at My Cyber House Rules
I think hope is like the love-child of some sort of human-nature-orgy. Take trust, intuition, faith, positivity, reflection, and let them inter-twine and get all funky with each other – you get hope. -Lou at Fridge Scrapings
Our hopes are our secret dreams; we whisper them in the dark, forging a pact with tomorrow.
I was bursting with hope – hope that with a little support, I could change many old beliefs and self-limitations and open myself up to joy and new adventures. -Mary at A Teachable Mom
My hope is to expose my anger and the parts of myself that I think are despicable (that part that drops F-bombs in front of toddlers, for example) so that I can shine a healing light on them and then connect with other people who are dealing with their anger. -Christie at Outlaw Mama
And this is my hope. That there will come a day that feels like stepping off the stage. That the postpartum anxiety will subside and a wave of calm will wash over me. That I will be able to play a little anything on my very own grand piano. -Laura at I’d Rather Sit on the Couch
My hope is twofold. One is that we can all be more understanding of our fellow humans… whether our differences are visible or not, whether they are in our body, mind, or mental health; our gender, sexual identity, skin colour, religion or nationality. The other… is that those of us with differences that restrict us in some way, can learn to accept ourselves and our limits for what they are, and live fulfilling lives within a smaller sphere than we would sometimes like. -Imp the Sane
Hope is a fragile thing. It’s like a dandelion seed, it might just float by at any time, and just as quickly be swept away. -Tom at Running Physio
What do I hope for? I hope for the courage to face my life, the courage to be in whatever state I find myself in until that state changes. I hope for the courage to respond authentically to whatever I need to respond to. -The Kale Chronicles
So instead of focusing on my fears, I choose hope. Hope is what I hold so close to my heart, scared to loosen my grip on it, fearing that it will slip away and I’ll be, once again, left alone with my guilt. So I cling to it, as tight as I can, afraid speak my hopes above a whisper for fear that they’ll escape from my heart. -Sierra at Everything is Coming Up Roses
Sometimes, we whisper our hopes…and they are eaten. By monsters. It’s a bummer.
My intellectual and imaginative life doesn’t allow for hope. Most horror films end badly. If there is a hero that survives the night, she (it usually is a she) has seen, and done, inhuman things. And then she’s likely to die in the sequel as the body count climbs. -Scott at Monsters in America
Other times, hope is our anchor, keeping us tethered, and giving us reason to believe.
…here feels hopeful. Not in the manic, I’m-going-to-do-a-million-things-before-bedtime way, but in a more settled, calming, enduring way. I have hope that I will find the time to write, that my family and friends will support me, that I’ll find solutions for the scenes or posts that are giving me trouble and be inspired for the scenes that will be my darlings. -Sara at Moments of Exhilaration
[T]hinking of hope made me remember what initially made me passionate about the church/state relationship in the first place: I saw people who navigated it well, with grace, and candor, and integrity. That’s seriously hopeful stuff. -Matt at The Church/State Guy
The hospitality that I have found in my social networks have been invaluable in keeping me hopeful; hopeful about my future, hopeful about my chosen profession (even in the face of contrary evidence), and hopeful about the future of humanity. -Jermaine M. McDonald
But hope is the stuff of everyday life. It is, at its best, rather … ordinary. It is that which greets us with every sunrise and calms us as we lay our heads down at night. It is learned as our hopes are met everyday in little and mundane ways – like when the recipe turns out just right, the hug offered is greeted with open arms, and we make it through a day safe and having smiled. -James W. McCarty III
Hope doesn’t always mean a heroic act or a thread to hold to in life’s bleakest times. I think we also find it in the simplest moments, the simplest memories, and the realization that more awaits. -Kyla at Free to Be Joyful
I got to this moment because of hope. I could give up, and a few times I tried, only to find in my despondency an awareness that I do no service to myself, my family or life by giving up. So, I get up, damn it. Over and over again. I move forward, I move backward. I sway. -Lesley at Merlin’s Garden
I have spent the last two years of my life attempting to silence the inner voice of my youth. I love what my heart is saying to & about the woman that I am meant to be. It was in that moment of realization that it occurred to me ─ make that, I decided ─ I not only have the renewed hope of walking into my destiny triumphantly, I AM HOPE. -Antoinette at A Serendipitous Sojourn
But sometimes, [hope is] just being able to say, in the moment, that this is okay. That maybe, this is As Good As It Gets. And I have to be okay with that. -Molly Jo at Frankly, My Dear
Hope is why I am pushing my own boundaries. Hope is why I read and write. Hope is why I communicate. Hope is everything. At the core of my being, the root of every action, the impetus behind every thought is…Hope. -Your Life is a Banquet, Don’t Starve
As I grow older, though, [my ring's] message deepens. It has become a small, tangible sign that people can change. Three-foot-high soapboxes can be lowered. Crusty old mindsets can soften. Tired arguments can find common ground. -Melissa at Goodnight, Irene
If I allow myself to look deeper, to not be seduced by cheap tours, cheap drinks, and cheap Spanish classes, I think I will find this place I now call home, [Guatemala], to be a country of great hope. Hope against all odds. Reconciliation and healing and redemption against all odds. -Aly at Memoirs of Algeisha
You’re a four-letter word but not the one that we both mutter when times are bad. Tossing disregard for normal and laughing at convention, all of me walks our lives in need of your hand. You never fail to provide it. -Lance at My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog
Hope is in the grand and in the abstract and in the eyes of a sick child, but more often it’s also simply what gets us through. -Jen O. at My Tornado Alley
Think of those who hurt you. Think of those who degrade you. Those who have ripped your heart from your chest, stomped on it, spit on it, and pretended like nothing ever happened. These people, each and every one of them, desire hope. Want hope. Seek hope. Need hope. -Adrian at Life Before the Bucket
Some of the treatments and medications I’ve been on made me numb, and it sucked. So maybe that’s how I can tie the hope theme into this rambling piece of drivel. I’d rather feel than not feel, even when feeling is overwhelming. I don’t have a hope of being cured, but every day that I get out of bed is a hopeful one. There are open windows, but I keep passing them, and that is hope. And sharing this madness with you is hope for us all. -The Klonopin Chronicles
And hope is a gift you can give in an instant.
She is quiet for a moment, and then asks “do you think I have a light in me?” I pause, and smile before I answer, “your light is so bright, I almost need sunglasses.” -Jenn at So This is Love
Before Miss Swears left, she pulled me aside when no one was around. She gave me a book with white and black models in it. She told me that I was beautiful, I was special, and that I was no different from the girls in my class. She told me that I was smart and that I could be anyone I wanted to be. -Kenya G. Johnson at Here’s The Thing
I am the 4th of 6, and have found hope and inspiration in every one of [my siblings]. Yes, I’ve told them, and shown them, but I am probably the “fluffiest” of us, so I don’t know for certain if they know the depth of my admiration. In short, my sibling have always given me HOPE. -Jackie at Blessed Be
Presents didn’t have to be big. Just enough to show the female clients that they are worthy of a gift. That they have hope for a healthy future. Or any future at all. As surprising as it may seem, some had never been given the gift of hope. -Jennifer at Another Jennifer
To Myself at Fifteen, I know you’re scared and broken. I have something I want to give you. -Lesley at The Spigot List
If you are in a relationship that is ultimately damaging your happiness and ruining the person you used to be, my hope is that you look to others to help you find your inner strength. Surround yourself with love, and don’t lose sight of your self-worth. And those of you watching a loved one suffer; I hope that you will be the un-judging stronghold that they will need to pull themselves out. -Erica at Yeah, I’m a Nerd
[Walt Whitman] understood that it did not take much– just a token– to revive men’s spirits or ease their souls. He did not shy away from his chance to spread hope. Hope, he realized, was not his alone. -Amy at ReadNCook
And then after awhile, he went out in the yard to pick flowers. For Jodie. He brought them in. Just the blossoms. He put them in bowl. We all said a prayer over them. And then, he took them next door to what had been Jodie’s house. His grandmother lives there now which is really nice. He put the bowl on the table in front of the outdoor couch where he and Jodie used to sit. And then he came quietly home.
Not sad. Full of the hope he’d been given over the years. By Jodie. -Stephen at The Desperate Man
Sometimes hope is found in America, and in The Boss.
My Italian grandfather is 101-years old. He migrated to the United States in 1913 with his his mother and siblings. His family believed that America, to quote from Springsteen, was a “land of hope and dreams.” And indeed, I probably would not be writing this short reflection on hope if he had not taken advantage of what this country had to offer him. -John Fea at The Way of Improvement Leads Home
The cross-cultural gathering captured the hope ingrained in our global community and manifested the best in America’s pluralist dream. The dais on which the couple pledged their troth backed to open ocean off Palm Beach, but I saw a smiling Statue of Liberty dancing over the water. -Elizabeth Lewis Pardoe, PhD at MyStories
Children are a magnet for hope: they pull out every last scrap of hope we have.
Although I was afraid, Hope worked to remove my fear and became my optimism that my baby would be born healthy. -Kenja at Grand New Mom
My greatest hope for my two sons, aside from their general health and happiness, is that someday, they will uncover something to aspire to, to work toward, that brings them such joy. -Five Uninterrupted Minutes
Throughout her children’s lives, a mother hopes…
her baby will be born healthy
the baby will go to sleep
the baby will stop crying
the fever will go down…
-Karen at Mom in the Muddle
I HOPE you continue to sing at the top of your little lungs, not caring who hears you. -Kelly at Cobwebs, Cupcakes and Crayons
Whether they one day break the world record in the 200 meter freestyle or simply beat the odds by surviving, preemies embody hope. -Stream of the Conscious
“Yep, some people say that, and I laugh, little do they know, she saved me. And you want to know a secret?….I don’t mind doing all this for her, you know…the expensive birthday parties, the constant hospital trips, being a parent when I am already an old man….but her days are numbered.. I only hope that she knows how much I love her. And then you know…it will be okay for us both to leave this world” -Humble Writes Words
But….even if with all of that hoping, even if he STILL experiences all that I did, I am a living example, that he can still be okay. And if “I” turned out okay, then there is hope for him after all. -Jenn at What I Really Meant to Say Was…
The boy gave me hope. Hope that the future generation may not be so bad. Hope that family will win out over vanity. Hope that empathy is still alive and well. Hope that my kids will have even a smidgeon of the qualities that this boy showed by simply helping his sibling. -Brent at SooperDad Blog of Awesomeness
My mom’s final chapter had been written, but my tiny man’s life had so many chapters remaining. -Deborah at The Monster in Your Closet
While mourning the loss of one son, and hoping for the health of another in the NICU, Edward J. Blum quotes hope from WEB Du Bois, who says, “It is never too late to mend. Nothing is so bad that good may not be put into it and make it better and save it from utter loss.”
People often use the word hope along with two other powerful words – faith and love. As I think about my current parenting struggles, I remind myself that I love Sophie beyond words. I have faith that both Sophie’s and my intentions are truly good, and we will get past this awkwardness. And I have hope that we will become an even stronger mother and daughter because of the struggles. -Leah at Leah’s Thoughts
When I first started thinking about what I would write, it almost felt like an absence of hope, but as I watch my son and I look at the things he is able to do. Things that against all odds, he is now able to do, and I think it really is a hope for hope… -Karen at Real Life and Other Hazards
I hope my sister, niece, daughter and nephews mother all have healthy babies, I hope those babies along with all babies realise they are a gift from God and are raised in loving and caring environment. -Joanne at Joanne Rambling
I began to feel a swelling in my breast, a spark that had been drowned in worry and overwhelming fears since this journey had begun, reignited. I might get to bring him home. I might just leave this tiny clausterphobic NICU. I was still uncertain but there was no denying that at last I felt what I thought had been lost. Hope. -Darlie at Written Ramblings
Ali’s academic achievement would be impressive in anyone. But when you realize that he could not even pick up a pencil, this is really stunning. The thing about Ali was that he was hilarious. He had a biting wit and sense of satire, which would crack me up when I saw him. It was only after his death that I realized that he was actively putting up political videos on YouTube under the alias ScaryBears. -Dr. Craig Canapari
Sometimes hope is the very last thing you find, right when you think the whole world will go dark.
One man carried his wife, who was shot three times, out of the theatre, because when she told him to go without her, he refused, saying, “No, we go together.” Not surprising then when his 14-year-old son (14!) stopped to carry another wounded woman, a stranger to him, out of the theatre.…Literally, a countless number of people carried wounded victims, held their hands, stanched their wounds - almost all of them strangers to each other. -Jen at Bible Belt to Boulder
Most of what we hear about is the hate and the violence, but so many people have open generous hearts. With kindness and a little effort, we can change the world. -Kelly at Blogical Reasoning
But hope is reserved for those with soft hearts; it patches the holes and stitches the tears. It’s the gift we receive for surviving the heartache. For letting ourselves be vulnerable enough to love. To believe.
Hope gives us strength without hardening our hearts. -Erin at Welcome to Grace
You would think this mingling of tombstones and vague suicide talk would have me calling 911, but red flags barely get notice anymore. Those flags need to be shooting rocket fire to gather any real attention.
“So you now want your tombstone to say, “He didn’t jump?” I joked and he did something of a laugh. With a father like mine you look for levity wherever you can, even in suicide talk. “Yeah,” he says, the mood automatically lighter. “That works.” -Ice Scream Mama
Hope, it is the thin piece of twine that binds us all together. -Cozzis Corner
Even when we start to lose hope, sometimes, if we are fortunate, hope finds us. -Ilene at The Fierce Diva Guide to Life
A battle-tested hope is the strongest of hopes. I pray you know HOPE like I know HOPE. -Matt Linden at The Dawg Run
When Pandora opened up that horrible box and let all the ills that plague the world out, hope was left behind. And hope, time and time again, has beat back the horrors and turned them into blessings. Hope is a powerful weapon and it is battling for me today as I pay bills with the last of what is in our account. -Penny Tralia
It seems sadness, atrocity, and crisis are constantly on the radar. I’m reminded of the words of Thomas Paine, who wrote, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” -Honie Briggs
When I think of hope and how it relates to me, my strongest pull is go back to when I first had my nervous breakdown. -Little Bits and Pieces
Hope sang her song. On those coldest nights in those darkest places she sang. She sang LOUD and she sang STRONG and she NEVER. GAVE. UP!! When the storms were raging and I couldn’t hear her sing she wrapped her wings around me and waited. -Shell at The Journey is the Reward
I have hope for the future that I will be able to learn more about whom I am and what I am here to do and accomplish. I have hope that I will overcome my ridiculous fears and my awful thoughts that come with depression. -This Mama is Crazy
I was so in love with alcohol, it was tantamount to a death sentence.…Hmm, giving up the thing you love most in the world? I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to do it. The only hope I had was that I wanted to want to. -Natalie at The Cat Lady Sings
This is what I love so much about blogging — it gives me the experience of building a community of people who say, “Me too. I’ve been there. I may not know how to get out of the place you’re in, but, at the very least, you’re not there alone.” That is the best expression of hope that I know. Not canceling out the darkness, but being a body beside me in it, groping for the light together. -Rhea at Thirty Threadbare Mercies
After lunch I headed over to my place of employment to switch cars with my then boyfriend. He knew I was going to be doing this. And that’s when I saw them. Sitting in a car talking. That easily and that quickly, the life I had known was over. -Bethany at Runner B
Did I ever think that I would spend that “golden year” on a couch, writhing in pain for the majority of the day? No. I thought I would be in NYC, living out my dreams, having fun with friends, flourishing. Last night, I finally allowed myself to be angry about that. But then hope stepped in. -Caralyn at Gluten Free Happy Tummies
This kid had to choose a path. Hope or despair. I have no idea what the disease is or the circumstances it has brought to him and his family. All I know is that a complete stranger with issues I haven’t ever had to deal with showed me in the simplest ways that you can always choose hope. -Jerrod at Never Had One Lesson
For me, it is that hope of desperate belief in something when you have nothing else, that pulled me through my post partum depression when I became a mother for the first time seventeen years ago. I needed that kind of hope to hold me up and promise me a tomorrow. -Alexandra at Good Day, Regular People
When I prayed as a little girl I begged God to take me in my sleep PLEASE! He never did. Now I know it’s because he is not finished with me here on earth. I don’t know what his plan is but I keep myself open to him and what to do next. Hope. Sweet hope. -Kim at Dazed and Creative
This week, I am forced to face a serious and terrifying hope.My husband had a mole removed a couple weeks ago. What was expected to be a routine and unnecessary procedure has turned into what could either be a very lucky catch or four fatherless children. The biopsy came back malignant Melanoma. -Molly at The Good Enough Girl
In one week, it will have been exactly 3 years since I lost my job, in the new stages of pregnancy, and in a state of confusion and fear that was completely new to me. Some days it feels like it’s been longer; some days it feels like just yesterday. -April at Red Dirt Mama
…And then hope is just the beginning.
So although hope is not a plan, it’s the spark. It’s the fire in your belly. In your soul. It’s what motivates us, and ultimately, hopefully, what moves us forward. -Diary of a Mad Woman
Without information and planning, dedication and sometimes sheer muscle, hope is a merely a dream into which one surrenders their future to the vagaries of chance. -Ann at An Unrefined Vegan
Hope often feels like a dead end path, but we will not know what is waiting for us at the top unless we start walking. -Erin at Life, Ablaze
Instead, [running] gives me the ability to face life’s curve balls unflinchingly. It provides me with a calm and open mind, it helps me take a step back, re-evaluate my initial, emotion-fuelled gut reaction and say, wait a minute, there’s a better way of dealing with this situation. It replenishes my cup of hope and optimism and makes me a much nicer person. -Jennifer at Two Itchy Feet
Again, the only way out of that dark, hopeless hole was to take action, be committed and dig deep to find that inner drive to emerge a better, stronger person. To this day, I credit running for a lot of that hope. -Stacy at Will Run for Glitter
Hope is the only first step in accomplishing those goals. The next step, the hard work, is what defines me (as a person, a runner, a friend, daughter, sister etc). -Ashley at Running Bun
Hope is the basic, yet deep foundation that supports my sky-scraping love for running. For LIFE. -Liz at Runnerstood
To me, hope means opportunity. An opportunity to change, to grow, to better one’s station in life. -Ingrid at Ingrid Improved
Hope is believing in your abilities to achieve this difficult task and knowing that while life may not be exactly what you envisioned it to be, it’s still pretty great because it has made you the person you are. -Gabby at The Veggie Nook
Hope is acknowledging that you have the power to choose to see things/people/situations/your past/life differently. -Cara at Fork and Beans
As a hope without action is simply just that, nothing more than a thought, or a desire. By doing, we become. -Shira at In Pursuit of More
I guess what I’m saying is if times are rough in your life, go ahead and hope for a better day, but you better be working your ass off trying to make it happen. -Aja at Writing and Recovering
Taking back my happiness gives me great hope that my reality will become everything I hope for, regardless of those around me. I will combine hope/work/and reality to create the world I want. That’s what hope means to me. -Nichole at Michon Michon
Hope can save us from ourselves.
I can sit with the surprises and discover I am not condemned to stare down the narrow barrel of my own troubled heart. -Doug Harrison at The Outpatient Monk
I’ve come up with the thought that makes me most hopeful for my future. Here it is: It’s okay to fail. It’s A-O-K to suck. To be wrong. To have everyone in a 5 mile radius turn to you in one accord and say, “…boo.” It’s totally and completely fine. -Melanie Crutchfield
Most importantly, you are capable of forgiving yourself for your perceived flaws, and understanding that perception is relative. Your flaws, as well as your talents, make you who you are. -Shannon at Unless I Change My Mind
I have realised that there is nothing wrong with asking for help and admitting that you can’t cope. It doesn’t make you weak, any more than trying to heal yourself and saying that you are ok when you are not, makes you strong. -Normal for Norfolk
I want to pretend that at times I’m not my worst enemy. I want to believe that a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and reading the latest Cosmo Magazine is all any of us needs to perk us up and get us back on our A game. I am human, after all.I’m also not totally delusional. So, I’ve set my nose to the grindstone and started stockpiling again. Maybe one of these days it won’t be so hard. Hope springs eternal. -Jen at When Pigs Fly
I can choose to quit acting like hope is this foreign concept that applies to the whole world except me. -Abby at Abby Has Issues
But sometimes, hope is just the little stuff that keeps us from losing it.
I hope to go eight SECONDS on the computer without hearing “Mommy, mommy, mommymommymommymommymommy,” usually followed by a loud bang and crying. -Carinn at Welcome to The Motherhood
Hope is the happiness that your dog showers on you when you come back from anywhere whether you were gone 1 minute or 10 hours. The wiggly bum, the rapidly fanning tail, the toothy smile “I am so happy that you are back”! -Richa at Vegan Richa
I am absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt convinced that this is the solution to ALL of my hair styling problems. This curling iron CURLS ITSELF, PEOPLE! And, for those of you who are stupid like me, you can even tell it which side of your head it’s on by pressing a handy-dandy button, so it will CURL THE CORRECT WAY! Hope? Of course I have Hope!!!! -What I Meant 2 Say
A Final Word: Thanks
Seriously, truly, a million thank yous to all you crazy, crazy people. I know some of you groaned your way to the keyboard when the baton was sent in your direction—thank you for participating anyway (perhaps despite your better judgement). I know some of you struggled with hope—watching your words evaporate as you tried to collect them—thank you for pushing through it. I know some of you haven’t written in a while—thank you for making the time for this.
But mostly, thank you for making this amazing thing. When I recruited the first round of writers, I summed up my hopes for the project in this: I just want to do something beautiful that we can all be proud of. I think we did that. YOU did that. So, high fives, fist bumps, tummy rubs, or whatever makes you feel like a superhero. That. To you. A lot.