The full definition of hope is to cherish an idea or an expectation. The opposite of hope is despair and it has two ornery cousins named “cynicism” and “bitterness”. I don’t know many people who live in a constant state of despair but I know many who are cynical or bitter. In today’s culture cynicism is vogue. Cynics believe they are intelligent, discerning individuals who apply critical thinking to all aspects of life. They have a market share on reality and are quick to dash the hopes of the overly optimistic. They pride themselves on their unique insights and relish sharing their perspectives with the rest of the world. We all know people who use criticism to keep the world in balance. We also know we are protective of our hope in their presence. If we aren’t careful, their cynicism gobbles it right up and belches out something toxic. Let’s be honest. It’s hard to be around cynical people.
As Miller puts it, “We are never a passive observer, dispensing wisdom and justice. We are part of the mess.” If prayer is part of your life – what would it take for you to be more open about that? If you have a cherished hope, even if it is completely unrealistic in another’s perspective – what would it take for you to be unashamed and transparent about that hope?
I have watched clients find their voice when they give themselves permission to be proud and truthful about what they cherish. It’s never about proselytizing a spiritual belief or religion – it’s about owning what is fundamentally true for you.
How do prayer and hope show up in your life? What is it that you cherish?