Maybe it has been there for many months. Possibly years even. The dark night of the soul, in whatever form it may be, whether chronic illness, loss, pain, suffering, continuous failures on too many fronts, depression that knows no end – whatever it may be.
Maybe we have accepted it. After all, we have the power to try and alleviate our situation and condition. We do whatever we can, whatever we can think of, whatever we can afford. But for how long? How long does it take before we feel defeated… when we give up… when we break down?
And even when we do give up – it’s not as if anything has changed. The suffering continues, each moment feels like eternity, and the hope… where is the hope? We cannot even remember when exactly we lost it. It was that long ago! Somewhere along the path of struggling and trying and failing and coming up with new tactics; somewhere in that battlefield hope was lost and gone.
And yet hope, couldn’t care less that we’ve forgotten all about it, that we lost it. It’s not offended. Suddenly, out of nowhere, it’s here. Like the very first rays of dawn after a night that has gotten darker by the minute. We did not expect it. We were not prepared for this. We may even be afraid. Afraid that this hope is just a teaser – being lifted upwards for the sole purpose of being slammed down with even greater force.
But here too, hope doesn’t care. Like a child smiling at us when all around us there’s devastation from an earthquake or a hurricane. That smile is untouched by the outside ruins. That smile exists on a realm of its own. We may dismiss it for as much as we want, but we cannot ignore the very fact that it touches us in a way undeniable. It’s there – or rather – right here. And when it is, we see all the ruin very very differently. Just like putting on a pair of tinted glasses. Nothing looks the same as before. The suffering was so real a moment ago, hope was nowhere to be found or remembered a moment ago. But that moment ago now feels just like eternity ago. This is more than magic – it’s almost diabolic.
We have an inherent need to understand. We have a need to have an idea in our mind about how things work, how the world works, how life works. Perhaps we do this so that we know what to expect, perhaps as a way to protect ourselves from unpleasant surprises. Or perhaps we have this need so to allow us to feel belong and connected, rather than alien to this world and this life. This need that we have, may be something that we are consciously aware of, but may also be something that’s controlling us, pulling our strings and pushing our buttons without our awareness, knowledge or consent. Regardless, we constantly try to understand how things really work and how we ought to interact with this reality.
Too often, when reality unfolds in accordance with this understanding of ours, we become more convinced that “we got it”. We may actually believe that we know what to expect. That we cannot be too surprised by anything. This is not entirely unlike arrogance – but it’s a protection mechanism. How else could we possibly take a step if we think that the floor is not solid? This may be a necessary protection mechanism for us to use. If we have been suffering for a very long time, having hope could just hurt us even more.
And yet suddenly… it is now here: Hope!