Hope…

In response to the Daily Prompt, “Hope“:

Courtesy of GDJ/clipart
Courtesy of GDJ/clipart

According to the Oxford Dictionary, hope when used as a noun means “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen” or  as a verb it means to “want something to happen or be the case”.

I think hope is a word that is often overused. If you are an American, you remember the word “Hope” being used in conjunction with the word “Change” during Obama presidential campaign of 2008. Yeah… We got change alright, and certainly not what many Americans hoped for. Many people hoped that Guantanamo Bay would be closed down, it wasn’t. They hoped that the country really would come to together and that economy would bounce back after the 2008 economic debacle… no dice on both accounts. The economy is still in shambles and the country is divided on many fronts.  This brings to mind lyrics from a Everlast song, where he says, “I voted for some change and it’s kinda strange, now it’s all I got in my pocket…” I know a lot of people struggling to make it every day and, sadly, it doesn’t seem to get better for them like they hoped it would.

In my experience, hope is usually said at a time when someone is going through a situation that is displeasurable, or even disappointing, as in “I hope ______ will get better…” Hope is not the same as faith or belief in something.  For instance, I have faith that I will survive but I hesitate to say that I have hope.

Hearing the word hope, also makes me think of a wonderful person I worked with at a previous job. Her name was Esperanza, which is Spanish for hope, and her name was appropriately chosen. She was a professional, and yet a very caring, empathetic, and positive person who really did offer hope  and compassion to many people that she helped in both her work life and personal lives. Sadly, Hope lost a very tough battle with cancer recently. If anyone deserved to make it through cancer and leave it behind her, it was Hope, but it was not to be.

Courtesy of donchico/clipart
Courtesy of donchico/clipart

Hope is frequently mentioned with regarded to the bible quote from 1Corinthians 13:13 (King James version), “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” Even in the hardest of times when we don’t have hope, we can still be charitable to others, even if only by sharing knowledge or a smile.

© 2016 blogdaysofchrell

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Faith

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “In Good Faith.”

My faith has fluctuated throughout my life. I grew up Roman catholic, then lost touch and have, over time, found a comfortable level of faith-based beliefs and independent spirituality. I believe in God and that He gave us free will.  I believe that miracles can happen. I believe that we sometimes face challenges that help us learn and grow. I believe that He can intervene in life but I am sometimes confused how it all works, the why and how of it, and I don’t believe that He saves close parking spaces.

I recognize times in my life when I got a favor and I was clearly given a hand, if you will, though I struggle with faith in other situations. I had an alternator go out while I was driving on a city street but I was able to keep the car running long enough during a brief red light to turn a corner, turn into a business parking lot and park the car in a towable parking space before the car completely shut off. I believe that I was kept safe in a situation that could have gone wrong. I was a on a two-lane street with no street parking available, my panel was not lit and I had no idea of the speed I was going. If the car stopped in the middle of the street, it likely would have resulted in an accident. This car presented me with other similar situations and I was protected each time, thank God. I also believe that God has helped me through some tough times.

I struggle with faith when it comes to bad things repeatedly happening to good people and the suffering they endure, seemingly while bad people carry on with minimal consequences. They somehow manage to get sympathy, justification for their bad behavior and, in some cases, multiple chances for redemption, while others get the book thrown at them for the smallest of infractions. I am told that they will “get theirs in the end”, that “God’s justice is not the same as human’s justice”, and that “everyone deserves a second chance.” Yes, and I am familiar with the Holy Bible’s stance on this  in Matthew 18:21-22 NASB.

“Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”

I get that we are all human and that we will have our day of judgment to answer for what we have done in our lives. I am even sympathetic to the plight of the wronged and abused who were not taught a better way and committed horrible acts but I believe that they still, in many cases other than severe mental illness, made a choice. We are all held accountable for our actions and the choices we make, especially as adults. I believe in forgiveness and its power to free us, yet I also believe that our forgiveness of others can be taken for granted.

I believe in free will and I believe in divine intervention, but I often wonder how God decides when and when not to intervene. Why does He intervene in some situations and not others, especially a situation of magnitude? Or did He try to intervene and the people were willful, preventing a different outcome? I contempt this as I see terror attacks, wars, crimes against humanity by companies, countries and individuals, oppression, child abuse, and a world in which the most basic human freedoms are being restrained and struck down by powerful individuals working for the supposed “greater good”.

I have faith that there are good people who care about others and about what is going on around them, and I have faith that they can make a difference by speaking out, helping and educating others and by just being honest, decent human beings. Maybe God is using them as instruments to fight back against the evil order at work. Although I try to be a realist, I remain optimistic that life can get better, even as I see signs of life getting harder, and that humanity can band together to fight for true good – freedom, liberty, healthy non-genetically modified food, clean air and water, self-defense, self-sufficiently, an end to wars and power struggles, true healthcare rather than sickcare, individualism and respect for our likenesses and differences. We all need to have faith.