Hope gives us the strength to develop a peaceful optimism towards life. Hope gives us great courage to face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. When facing the darkness, fear, and pain, Hope teaches us that we can begin to understand and accept our imperfections and make use of the tremendous potential we possess. By seeing the world through the lens of Hope, we can truly begin to honor our uniqueness. Through honoring our own uniqueness, we can then come to appreciate and honor the precious uniqueness of others. Perhaps the deepest insight we can acquire from letting our heart run to Hope is that we are truly never alone. With that realization, we can unlock a wellspring of love and enthusiasm for life. By turning to Hope, we discover that God has given us the ability to turn our life around, and through that turning, we discover the light within.
I beg of you, don't give up hope! There is no such thing as hopelessness.
- Reb Nachman of Breslov
Sometimes we feel so alone that we despair, and feel abandoned. We, God forbid, give up on ourselves. Only someone who has collapsed into hopelessness could know it doesn’t exist. It certainly gives up hope.
Reb Nahum once said to his chassidim, "If we could hang all our sorrows on pegs and were allowed to pick those we liked best, each one of us would take back their own, for all the others would be even more difficult to bear."
As difficult as our life may be, we have to get a grip on our confusion. We must face it and accept it in order to grow spiritually. Why do we do choose to do this? Because deep down we believe in our life.
We have hope.
Reb Yehudah Tzvi of Stretin used to say, "When you grow aware of a new way in which to serve God, you should carry it around with you secretly and don't speak it out for nine months. It's as though you were pregnant with it. Only after that time can you let others know about it as though it were a birth."
It takes time to climb. When you’re pregnant with a new life, you’ve got to take care of yourself, nurture your new way, and give it time to grow.
The Kotzker Rebbe once noted, "When I woke up this morning, I felt like I wasn't alive. I opened my eyes, looked at my hands and found that I could use them. So I washed them and said a blessing. I then looked at my feet and saw I could walk. I walked a little. Then I made the blessing, 'Blessed are You who revives the dead,' and I knew I was alive."
Every day is a new blessing. We find ourselves alive, ready to begin anew. Each night as we go to sleep, we can see our life as over, ready, with God’s grace, to live a new day.
Behold, I forgive everyone who angered or offended me, or sinned against me.
- Prayer before sleep)
Forgiving others allows us to forgive ourselves. If we want God to forgive us, we certainly ought to be ready to forgive others. Having hope to change our lives inevitably leads us to having hope that others will experience it and desire it, too.
Reb Moshe, the son of the maggid of Koznitz said, "It says in the Torah, 'Pure olive oil beaten for the light.' Sometimes we are beaten and bruised, but only in order to glow with light."
We ought not minimize our suffering and struggles for they can bring us to the light.