Hope, The Noun

Good afternoon from Westminster, MD!

Hope is a funny word. It is not the way it is spelled or sounds when it rolls off the tongue that makes it funny. It is how different we feel about it that makes the simple word hope so interesting. For example, if I were to ask each person reading this post what hope means to them, I would probably get almost as many answers as there are readers (assuming it is more than one, hopefully).

For some the word hope brings a certain level of joy and excitement for what is to come. For others it is a reminder of failed dreams gone by, eliciting disappointment and pain from the deep parts of the heart. In fact, I have found there is not a ton of middle ground when it comes to hope- a person usually either loves and desires more of it, or hates it and can’t shut the door quickly enough when it tries to sneak into their life.

Desmond Tutu said that, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” Martin Luther stated that, “Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.” Fyodor Dostoevsky said, “To live without hope is to cease to live.” The Apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore since we have such a hope, we are very bold.” These people obviously believed hope was at the very least beneficial and at the most critical to life.

However, not everyone share their view. Benjamin Franklin said, “He that lives upon hope will die fasting.” Arnold Glasow stated, “Expecting something for nothing is the most popular form of hope.” Evan Esar is quoted as saying that, “Hope is tomorrow’s veneer over today’s disappointment.” Not exactly raving endorsements of hope.

I do not pretend to know how each of these people truly felt about hope, but at the very least these statements show that there are differing views of this short but heavy word. For what it is worth, the famous Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it this way- “to want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true; to expect with confidence.”

As I have considered my view of hope, one interesting thought that came to mind was that there is a difference between hoping and hope. Hoping, or to hope, is a verb that often doesn’t come with a ton of confidence. For example, I hope the Orioles win the World Series. Not a lot of confidence in that statement. Hope is a noun. It is something with which we can be filled that is often fueled by confidence in something or someone, not a passing feeling. For example, I am full of hope because I know who created me.

Hope the noun is something different- something powerful.  We will look at that next time.

In the meantime, what is your view of hope?

– James Belt

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