“You didn’t see it, but now you do. That’s hope.” –Rob Bell

Hope enlarged for me recently as I heard it described in a different way. It made hope so much more alive in the present, rather than something “out there.” We often say to another, “I hope everything goes okay for you.” We hope something will turn out right or according to our expectations. I really had hoped my friend Katherine wouldn’t die from illness, but she did. Does this mean hope is not alive?

Do you know the story behind the song, “All is well with my soul?” Horatio Spafford’s four daughters drowned in a ship accident. That’s when he wrote the song. Everything in his world was clearly not as he had hoped when we think of hope in a traditional sense. So, how could he say all was well with his soul? He could because he experienced hope within himself despite an unthinkable situation.

I remember finding my son, Micah, dead. I was in shock, body trembling, and during that had an experience that solidified he was with me; it’s forever etched in my heart and soul. Much of who I am is because of who he was, and the love that connects us. That remains. The experience I had that morning took hope from feeling dead, like he was dead, to a palpable knowing; one of aliveness and presence that he was still, and always would be, with me.

Hope does not mean we do not grieve.

I was so distraught in the beginning without his physical presence in my life. For 18 years, my whole day revolved around him and the care he needed. The loss of him was excruciating. Many months later I had a dream and when I woke up from the dream I was shouting, “It’s through love… it’s through love!!” In the dream I was asking how we could communicate now that he was gone, and I was screaming the answer when I woke up. “Through love” we still connect. I will be celebrating his 26th birthday soon. The eighth one without his physical presence in my life. I miss Micah every day, and his birthday will still be hope filled!

Hope lives in me. How I view hope has changed. Hope doesn’t rest in things turning out like “I had hoped.” Over the years, I spent a lot of energy hoping, worrying, and trying to control things in my life, so they’d go the way I had hoped. In doing so, I missed countless experiences of hope. It was the awareness of hope’s presence that I was missing. Hope is already in it all—the brutal and the beautiful. It’s even in the awarenesses of all the real experiences of hope I’ve had. As I say to one of my friends, “You just can’t make this stuff up!” Hope lives in my day-to-day spirituality in a relationship with Loving Presence in my life.

Where does hope live in your experiences in the present moments of your life? What are you aware of now that you weren’t before? That’s hope! Despite the tragic happenings, hope always is alive. It’s within you. It really is well in your soul. May we all be more aware of hope’s presence here and now.

Cheri Thomas

Cheri works as a Peer Support Specialist for RI in Arizona. She has experienced loss and grief which has led her to write for the masses to bring voice to those in similar situations. Cheri possesses a deep passion to share with, encourage, and inspire others on what she calls the Journey of the Heart.