Holding on to Hope

How often we are called to hold on to hope when everything around us is falling apart. Hope is endurance.

Hope is holding on and going on and trusting life will not disappoint, that the disruptions will pass, that normality will be restored.

Holding on to hope when everything is dark requires calmness and courage.

All the Light We Cannot See

These qualities are evident in Marie-Laure LeBlanc, one of the central characters in Anthony Doerr’s book, All the Light We Cannot See.

Marie-Laure is the daughter of a Paris museum locksmith. She loses her sight when she is 6 years old. Her father builds her a model of their Paris neighbourhood, so she can memorize it with her fingers and then navigate the real streets.

When the Nazis occupy Paris, she and her father evacuate the city and flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast where her reclusive great-uncle Etienne lives in a tall narrow house. With them, they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel, a large diamond named the Sea of Flames.

Following her father’s arrest, Marie-Laure and Etienne join the French resistance movement. During the siege of Saint-Malo, Marie-Laure is trapped in her attic for days while German officer von Rumpel, a gemologist and a sergeant major in the German military, searches Etienne’s house for the diamond. Marie-Laure knows that if she is found she will be interrogated and killed. It is her self-reliant intelligence, nurtured by her father that allows her to triumph. He saved her by instilling in her the confidence to embrace any hardship and to never give up hope. She knew,

“Hope means that even when it looks like it’s all over it’s not all over yet.”

Marie-Laure reminds us that we have the power to choose our own path despite the world around us. We don’t have to feel helpless; we don’t have to wallow in self-pity; we don’t have to accept we’re the victim. We can do more than survive, we can thrive.

Two thousand years ago a newborn, Jewish baby carried the hope of the world on his shoulders. He was the bearer of light and life. In Him, all the fullness of God could be seen. He brought hope to the brokenhearted, the lost, the forgotten, and the despised.

Hope is not a feeling. Hope is found in a person and his name is Jesus. In Him, all the promises of God are YES.

The following promise is found in the book of Hebrews.

“I will never leave you. I will never abandon you.”

It is a reminder of God’s intent. He says to us:

“You are not alone. I have not abandoned you. I love you.”

No matter how desperate life might seem, no matter the litany of disappointments, no matter the insurmountable problems, no matter the persistent doubts and fears, there is cause for hope.

“You are not alone.”

Author Ann Voskamp offers this word of advice.

“You have to let Hope always carry you or fears will carry you away.”

And again,

“You have to keep holding on to Hope to keep holding on.”

Wishing you a Hope-filled Christmas.

Author: Bruce Rickard

Reflections on Suicide and Staying Alive: My son's suicide changed everything. I felt an obligation to understand why anyone would want to end their life. My regular blog posts explore the causes and prevalence of suicide and what is needed to sustain a healthy mind and a hope-filled future.

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