What HOPE Means

hope ovalDuring the end of 2018, I reflected on the Hope series of this blog. For several years, I’ve used practical anecdotes and surrounded them with the umbrella of Hope. I’ve also written a book, using this blog series. Check out Hope Shines.

But what does it really mean to have Hope? After several weeks of thought and plenty of dark chocolate fortitude, I came up with my own definition. Using the acrostic form, I believe HOPE includes an Honest Optimism with Positive Expectations.

It’s impossible for me to think about Hope unless I can approach it with Honesty. I cannot visualize an attitude of optimism unless I have honestly looked at a situation.

Those of us who have lived through a debilitating depression know we cannot imagine ourselves out of the gloom. We must honestly approach our despair and seek help.

Reality often slams us into hopeless thoughts. It takes a bit of self-will to move past those gloomies. So my Hope must be laced with an honest appraisal of the situation.

Some people are genuinely Optimistic – you know, those cup-half-full folks. But without Hope, it is impossible to conjure up a hooray scenario and manipulate that cup to be what it’s not. Therefore, optimism is a definitive piece of the Hope puzzle.

Again, we have to lace that optimism with honesty. Sometimes we just have to live through the dark times, believing and hoping we will feel optimistic in the next season.

To stay positive, especially during these chaotic days, I keep healthy affirmations on my tongue. I sing, play piano and repeat the more positive Bible verses that have carried me through past struggles.

One of my favorites is the entire Psalm 34. In fact, many of the Psalms carry Hope as a major theme.

Again, honesty rules. I find nothing positive for my friends who have not been paid while doing their government jobs. Yet I Hope the powers in Washington, DC will find a compromise that will remedy this ridiculous situation.

Finally, expectations. Those of us who are Chiefs fans expect our team to go the whole way. Patriots and Saints fans have different expectations.

The fun and the challenge of expectations is that we cannot really know the outcome until after the final seconds tick off the clock. The same is true of our Hope in 2019.

So as we continue into this new year, let’s find our Hope by honestly approaching each day, laced with an optimistic attitude and moving forward with positive expectations.

What about you? How do you define Hope?

©2019 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved

Check out my Amazon Author page for some winter reading. All of my books have an underlying theme of Hope.

What’s the Difference

Have you wondered about the difference between a memorial and a monument?

During the winter of 1995, we toured Washington, D.C. My son and I stood in freezing drizzle as we waited for the Metro subway, then we joined a line of shivering tourists outside the White House. In spite of the weather, excitement traveled with us as we experienced the aura of our nation’s capitol.

We strolled through each floor of the Smithsonian and marveled at the artifacts of ancient history. We ate the famous bean soup in the Senate cafeteria and munched on bagels in the delis. We walked somberly through the white crosses at Arlington Cemetery and read every word of the original Constitution.

While touring the Washington Monument, we learned the difference between a monument and a memorial. Monuments are structures which honor someone or some noble cause. The Washington Monument honors our first president, George Washington.

Lincoln_Memorial_(Lincoln_contrasty)A memorial, such as the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, contains the image of the person for which it is named. Jefferson stands at attention in his memorial. Lincoln sits in a sculptured chair, his immortal words forming an arc around him. http://www.nps.gov/linc/index.htm

As I think about that vacation, I realize my own memorial lies within the soul cavern where God resides. I bear the image of the Almighty One, Emanuel, God with us.

Even when I miss my mother and hate the Alzheimer’s that destroys her mind, a morsel of hope hides within me. God plays spiritual peek-a-boo with my soul.

Even when I feel alone, I do not live in oblivion. God creates a heavenly purpose and sculpts his perfection in me.

Lessons learned. Scars healed.

I place my very self in the safest possible hands—in the omniscient palm of my loving Father. He alone creates in me an eternal memorial.

Hopefully, the memorial of my life reflects the origin of its Light.

©2013 RJ Thesman – “The Unraveling of Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/11QATC1