Earlier this week, a friend asked me how to have hope.

As humans, we all struggle with hope in something. As a college student who’s future home, occupation, and life is uncertain, I know what it is to struggle with hope.

I don’t understand hope. I understand it by a concept rather than a definition. As a person who struggles fitting words into a sentence on daily basis, a lot of my life is understood through concept.

When asking people to define hope, they will say it has to do with trust and expectations, which is great. If you ask me about hope, I’ll give you a philosophy.

Hope is different for every person. I used to think that Hope was that person who makes you happy and promises to stay by your side forever, but then he leaves a lot. The one friend who makes you feel like you’re doing something with your life just swings in and out and gives you check ups every once in a while.

But that’s not it.

Hope is that person I will take on a car ride simply because I enjoy his presence. He is such a good listener, and everything he says, when I let him slip in a word, is uplifting and makes me smile. The problem is when I invite other people into the car, and Hope slips politely into the back seat. When that happens, I can’t hear Hope anymore. Everyone is talking, playing with my music. It’s not that Hope stops talking, but that he’s suppressed. Everyone else is speaking over him. In order to hear him, I need to clear the loud voices out of my car.

Why is Hope so quiet? Why won’t he speak up on his own or even correct what the others are saying? It’s because I neglect him. I don’t even give him food. He’s malnourished, hungry, and barely hanging in there. I don’t even know why he stays or how he stays alive.

He doesn’t leave. I just forget to take care of him. I can’t blame Hope for not giving me what I need when  I don’t even spare my efforts for him.

As college students, we starve hope everyday. We say things all the time about how our student loans are never going to be paid and how it would be better to just go to a different country. We joke about how our major is academic suicide and won’t even give us a job after we graduate. We retweet all the college tweets that say things like,

Study tip: laminate your notes so your tears roll right off.

Choose the major you love and you’ll never work another day in your life. Because that field probably isn’t hiring…

Haunted house idea: people pop out and ask you what you’re doing after graduation

I mean what’s school without your life falling apart 1 or 3 or 40 times

Study tip: stand up. Stretch. Take a walk. Go to the airport. Get on a plane. Never return.

As it’s important to think about issues such as tuition and career choices, how discouraging is it to us and our hope when these become our thoughts on what we’re doing.

Hope isn’t “optimism” but it’s realism with a positive twist. I have hopes. Many of which I don’t voice to the everyday person because I don’t want to hear that discouragement that we pass off as humor. I’ve starved Hope for too long, and it will take long enough as it is to make him healthy again.
1 Cor. 15:58

One thought on “Hope: Friend or Foe

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