In 1969 singer Peggy Lee came out with a hit song, Is That All There Is?
Even though I suffered from depression at the time, this song surpassed anything I was going through.
Is that all there is, is that all there is?
If that’s all there is my friends
Then keep on dancing.
Let’s bring out the booze and have a ball
If that’s all there is.1
Further on the singer poses the obvious question: Why she doesn’t just end it all? Her answer? She’s not ready for that final disappointment. Even through my own depression, I wondered how anyone could survive with so little hope.
HOPE HAS MANY FACES
Over the years I’ve found hope has many faces.
Those who believe this life is the only life tend to express hope along a spectrum of good works, dogged realism, and submission to the inevitable. They seek their strength from within themselves and hope that’s enough to control the outcome.
Those who believe in life after death live their current existence according to their faith in a power greater than them, but even then, their actions vary.
Edith is a character in one of my stories in Hope Connections. For Edith, hope means coming face to face with each obstacle, grabbing it wherever she can get a grip, wrestling it to the ground and stomping over it as she moves forward. In the process, she drags her small family into the next day, whatever that may hold.
In Conversations, Francie manifests hope through worry and anxiety, fretting her way forward as she attempts to deal with her friend’s bad choices. While Edith meets challenges head-on, Francie would like them to all go away, and yet she carries on with a quiet belief that she’s not alone.
Hope can look different in the same person’s life, as seen in the two books I have in print.
The Reluctant Caregiver describes my journey caring for my mother when she developed dementia. Hope lay in my assurance that the One in whom I place my faith would keep me on the right track. When the Bough Breaks, serialized on my website, tells the story of our baby who died the day after she was born. Not a time one would describe as hopeful, and yet hope was there. I knew I would see her again, in the next life.
Today, liver disease is taking its toll on my body. Immediate hope is expressed in the cell phone I carry, waiting for a call that a liver is available for transplant. Each time I think of that, I know it will mean another family has lost a loved one and I feel at once grateful and guilty.
HOPE IS COMPLICATED
For me, hope is based in faith, as defined by scripture. “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for.”2 Hope detached from faith is just a wish. Faith is trust placed in God, something outside ourselves, something foundational, something proven. Pastor Scott Tolhurst wraps it up well, I think, when he says,
“Hope is the future tense of faith”
My characters see their situations through realistic eyes, but have hope that as they address each moment, they are connected to something greater than them. And me with my liver disease? That’s where my hope lies as well. I thank God this life is the temporary one, a preparation for the eternal life to come. My assurance lies in this truth, a hope I know will be realized.
1 Is That All There Is Source: LyricFind; Songwriters: Jerry Leiber / Mike Stoller
Is That All There Is lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc
2 Hebrews 11:1 NIV Translation
|Read more Hope Writings from our Hope Connections authors|
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