The Hope Dope

The Hope Dope(1,211)

July 18th, 2011

What an absolutely delightful morning we spent with Ash and Peg and all the fine folks in Boardman, Ohio. I think they were a little uncertain on how to receive us at first. The human tendency is to think that anything beyond the circumference of one’s own nose is quite different, and therefore worthy of scrutiny—but they got over it quickly and embraced us as friends and listened to the message. You can’t ask for more than that.

At my book table, I met a particularly nice young lady who told me of some of the troubles she’d had in her life and shared a plan she had formulated during the program—how she might be able to address some of the difficulties. I was excited with her resolve. Suddenly, turning on an emotional dime, she began to recite the reasons she thought her idea might not work. Trying to steer her toward her original energy, I said, “Remember, you came in without anything to believe in—and you’re leaving with something.”

Her response was, “I hope so.”

Her body language was defeated.

I don’t like hope. I won’t lie to you. I think it is one of the most insipid of the spiritual virtues offered in the library of heavenly possibilities. I feel this way because hope cannot stand alone—and hope, when it is not reinforced by other realities, is quickly deferred, making the human heart and will quite sick.

I deplore both religionists and politicians who extol hope singularly without also offering faith and love. For after all, “faith is the substance of things hoped for.” Faith is not only a hope but also a recollection of substantial memory of when our hope has worked in the past. Evidence is not needed at that point because we have a history that touts the success.

Love is helpful because it introduces passion, affection and commitment to the goal of pursuing our hope. So when hope begins to wane, we can fall back on that deep well of emotional devotion and sustain ourselves until better days arrive. But when people tout hope to me without telling me the history of how their philosophy has proven to be earth-, human- and God-friendly, or they proclaim the virtues of hope without giving me the genesis of passion and commitment to back it up, I look on hope as a mere emotional narcotic—a temporary jolt in the soul, making us believe we’re high—when really, we’re just medicated.

I felt so sad for that girl when she walked away yesterday because God had given her such energy through her own idea, but doubt had stolen her faith and fear had swallowed her love. Her tiny “I hope so” was not going to last through the parking lot to her car.

We must be careful when we offer hope—to be sure that we also give faith, letting people know that such miracles have happened before. We need to offer the commitment of our love and the thrust of our involvement to under-gird their efforts with real emotion instead of a false sense of well-being.

Hope is dope. If faith and love are present, then hope can act like a vitamin—to give us our nutrients.

But without faith and love, hope becomes an addictive drug that leaves us dependent instead of strong.

Published in: on July 18, 2011 at 1:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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