I have always struggle with hope. It seems hollow.

Hope seems the place of last resort. When there is nothing more we can possibly do, we then just hope it works out. We hope things will change.

Hope takes on a passive role. By having hope, we place what happens into someone else’s hands. Hope is placed on a higher power to take care of things. Hope places the outcome in another’s hands of responsibility and ownership.

Hope is not a strategy. I have never met any leader or worked in any organization that had hope as their strategy. We may say “I hope this works!” But we don’t say “our strategy is to just continue work every day and hope we find our way to success.” If this is your strategy, then you may be working in an Eeyore-like organization.

Hope doesn’t clean things up. Life is real, messy. We seem to forget this fact. Maybe all those nice sounding clips are really happening to the people writing them. I hope so…. But that isn’t always true either. When someone’s situation seems so perfect, I begin to imagine what may be really going on beneath the surface. Life is rarely that good all the time. Life is real, messy, and hope seems to fade.

Hope is a conversation.

Anne Lamott is a wonderful writer with a real life, and she tells it all through her books on finding faith and spirituality. Her recent book, Stitches, is a relevant read and it tells us to gather with those who support us and just live as brightly as we can with whatever comes our way. This simple statement is unfair to her and her book, but here is a small part of one sentence that just really hit me:  “…hope is a conversation.”

Hope is a conversation.

I like these four words. For me, it describes hope in such a clear way. A conversation enlivens hope. A conversation brings people together. A conversation enables empathy. A conversation regenerates our spirit. Through a conversation, hope may convert to a renewed faith in what is good and possible.

Hope is patience.

Hope may be a form of patience, too. We get eager. We want good things to happen as often and as quickly as possible. But life cannot always deliver that. Hope tells us to be patient.

Hope is….

I am unsure of what hope really is yet I also know we cannot live without it. Hope seems hollow often. Just when we are ready to give up on hope, we see beauty happen. The beauty can be a hug, a kind word, a knowing nod, acceptance, recovery. Hope can be many, many things in a real, messy world. And maybe that is what hope is about… undefined yet comforting and renewing. To grasp hope, it just may begin with a conversation.

What is hope for you?