I’ve been meditating on ‘Hope’ for some months now. It strikes me that hope is the one thing we all hold on to when everything else comes crashing down. The appeal is that we can always hope for something better.
For example, in a relationship blighted by domestic violence, the victim very seldom leaves when the abuse first manifests itself. We ‘hope’ for change. We make excuses for the perpetrator telling ourselves that they are not well, they are under stress, they may be drinking too much etc. We hope that they will ‘get better’ or change and everything will be fine. The longer the situation carries on, the victim realises that this particular ‘hope’ won’t occur, so the hope changes. The victim hopes for a day when everything is peaceful, and tries to do nothing that would cause offence or trigger a violent episode in their partner. However, even this approach is flawed, because the mood swings are so random and unpredictable as the perpetrator will find any reason to attack. Finally, when the victim is completely worn down, feeling worthless and virtually hopeless, the glimmer of a new future away from the perpetrator presents a new hope. Just how though, remains a mystery as the victim can’t see any way to escape and by this time, all rational thought processes have been destroyed by the constant abuse suffered.
People need hope to survive. The oppressed often turn to religion because of the hope faith offers. Most (if not all) faith offers you the hope of a better life in the next world. “Today’s life will be tough and hard, but don’t worry” adherents of a religion will tell you, “because if you follow XXXXXX or this path, you will be fine in the next world/life.” The promise of something better in the future gives hope. Pie in the Sky when you die. Furthermore, if you look to a religion/faith for hope, its followers are most embracing and welcoming of you especially when they think they may have a new recruit. They will do anything and offer all sorts of assistance to make you want to feel part of that group. Mind you if you turn your back on that group, your so-called friends may no longer offer you the same hand of friendship you previously experienced. The future hope you signed up to when you acknowledged believe in that faith system evaporates. You are no longer one of the chosen ones.
Hope is always there. Hope is not reliant on external circumstances or beliefs. There comes a time when you just have to grasp it. Any abusive relationship will never change and if you are being victimised, your only hope is leaving and starting again. Staying will only result in further problems and difficulties and could even cost you your life. That hope you may have of a life free from abuse is available to you, but you have to grasp it with both hands and doing that requires a big, bold step.