I met a friend for lunch one day recently. This friend is an amazing person who I love
dearly. She is a person who is very grounded, lives her life fully, makes clear decisions
and has been through a lot. I know her to be, well, solid. She’s one of my rocks. We
were talking about so many things and it was great. We were filled with compassion,
sadness, encouragement, wisdom, happiness and more. We talked for over two hours
and then had to move on.

Before we parted, I asked if she had relatives or friends in El Paso. Looking incredibly
sad, she said, “No, no friends or relatives.” I looked at her and saw more than sadness.
I asked if she was okay. She didn’t answer right away. I said that it was still important
to pray.

My spouse says all the time that prayer is our first line of defense. I believe that
wholeheartedly. Our first line of defense. Not our last or only one. And that doesn’t
mean we don’t take action. I said to my friend that I was going to continue to pray and
hope. She said that she could pray, but she didn’t feel hope any longer. Oh. Gosh. I
stopped. It took me a while to speak. I said that I would continue because hope is faith
going forward. She smiled and shrugged. We parted company.

I thought more about hope since then. And about hope being faith going forward.
When I see a client for the first time, they walk in the door with uncertainty, confusion,
sadness, anger and…hope. Hope that they can feel better, that they can find the
strength to do the work of therapy. Hope that change is possible.

In “The Gifts Of Imperfection”, Brene Brown writes, “I was shocked to discover that
hope is not an emotion; it’s a way of thinking or a cognitive process.” (pg. 65) Brown
later goes on to say, “We develop a hopeful mind-set when we understand that some
worthy endeavors will be difficult and time consuming and not enjoyable at all. Hope
also requires us to understand that just because the process of reaching a goal
happens to be fun, fast, and easy doesn’t mean that it has less value than a difficult
goal. If we want to cultivate hopefulness, we have to be willing to be flexible and
demonstrate perseverance. Not every goal will look and feel the same. Tolerance for
disappointment, determination, and a belief in self are the heart of hope.” (pg. 66)

Hope is active, not passive. Too often, we shrug our shoulders and casually say, “I
hope so!” We use that phrase casually and often. And that’s okay; it has its place. But
hope is an active engagement. To hope takes concentration, energy, engagement, and
courage. Hope is not complacent. Live your day fully and embrace hope!

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