|Posted by Dr Ashley Wong Hoy on September 29, 2013 at 6:15 PM|
"Hope is that which makes me get out of bed..." Ashley Wong Hoy
Some time back I met Rachel *. Rachel is a young thirty year old woman - much like any other young woman one could meet. She has a mum, she has a dad. She has a job. But she is different from many others because she has lost something. She lost something more important than her parents or her worldly possessions. For it was many years ago when she began to think that she was horrible, that she was ugly, that she was overweight, that she was stupid - it was when she was a little girl that she was abused and lost this thing called Hope.
Indeed she is not horrible, ugly, overweight or stupid - but it was a long way back when she first felt the shame.
These days she crawls out of bed and goes to her workplace and works in a team of six highly paid advertising professionals. None of them know that Rachel thinks about suicide every day. How could they? Someone as creative as she could never be thinking of anything but “the corporate project” and the accolades that will come in. But no, she thinks about all the ways she can escape the living hell that is her life - without causing too much pain to her family, yet doing the “job” right, and making sure she kills herself properly.
Hope is a vital thing. It is a dream that gives us a purpose to live, and a chance to overcome mistakes. Even mistakes that aren’t our own, just like Rachel.
Hope is a necessary thing. It introduces itself to our needs, our need to be accepted, to be valued and to belong. It enables us to meet our needs and to see what vistas may lie around the corner of our life.
Just like yesterday, when I saw a man who was resting after suffering a massive stroke. His family was there, caring for him, loving him, being themselves. The doctors say there is nothing they can do anymore and he will soon die. Yet in the midst of that sadness, I saw Hope. As that man passes on, his family shows him that he is valued as father, husband, and memory - accepted as man and friend, and that he belongs with the rest of us. His family will warm to his jokes and fun even in memory, they will all bond closer to the common love that they share, and they will reflect upon the affection that they received from him when in his company.
For Hope is a lovely thing.
For the Hope is not in his recovery but in ours. We have Hope when we bring ourselves to love those that please or annoy, or to love those that we understand or those whom we do not. If we do, we achieve a Hope to the future as a caring and principled mass of people with both interests and purpose and able to help ourselves and others - others who have lost Hope and become mere single fragments- alienated and frightened, like Rachel. To love unconditionally, amid another’s trouble, anguish and pain, or to accept them despite their shortcomings and poor behaviour is a mighty thing for the human spirit to express. Yet one day as you and I express love without condition, and give love to those among us who many years ago received not, I know that Rachel will smile and Hope shall find its way into her heart again.
* name changed for privacy