How To Hope

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By Carolyn Shields

I also ask for a certain amount of understanding, and for an open heart for those precious ladies that read the following. It may not be exactly what you want to hear, but it may be what our Holy wants you to tell you today:

Hope.

It can drive us on for months: clinging to that hope that he will come back to us, holding fast to that hope that he will see what we have seen for so long, or holding onto that blossoming hope that he may start to pursue. This hope becomes our manna. But there will come a time when we can no longer simply live on this beautiful virtue, when interior peace will roar at you that it is needed more so than a cardinal needs the seed.

And sometimes we can't control our hope. It rages within our hearts like a wild fire, consuming our time and consuming our prayers whispered before a tabernacle that hosts a Living & Ancient charity.

But we need to stop living solely on this desire.

And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.
— Psalm 39:7

And that's been my reflection for the past six months, and it's finally coming together. How Hope & Desire are intertwined. For months I've been living off of this hope that a guy will finally claim this annoying heart that's been waiting on his doorstep. And why the hell not, I ask. Why won't he take this damn good heart? We find cistern jokes funny, we both stop in the middle of conversations to sing the same line to Switchfoot songs, and we both enjoy beer and dancing like total white people and overuse fist pumps on the dance floor. And there's a lot to this beautiful story, but the abbreviated point I want to make is that there was a certain point when I couldn't take it any more, living solely on hope.

Womenfolk, if your desire is causing you anxiety, restless nights, and disquietude, perhaps it's time to consider that Christ wants more for you then you know. You NEED interior peace more than you need this hope. And what is hope but the confidence in the faithfulness of God who will fulfill his PROMISES.

I can't. You can. And You promised.

But to counter this period of stillness, or recognizing that this desire may not be immediately lifted off of our hearts, we have this virtue of hope which requires action, because to hope is to trust. Jacques Philippe writes, "When we hope we are not passive: we are acting." He goes on in Interior Freedom that to fully understand hope, we must be broken. We must be impoverished.

It could be said that, while charity is the greatest of the three theological virtues, in practice hope is the most important.

So here's a conclusion:

  • Hope in the Lord, not in him. Do not sacrifice your interior peace for this hope you have invested in a man, because peace will always be needed more. Why? Because
  • Peace is the balance of faith, hope, and love. We acquire interior freedom to the degree in which we develop these virtues, and sometimes that can only be through
  • Silence and time. And the easiest way to do this is not by fleeing the country from him, but by a simple communication fast. And yes, it will be hard, even more so if the guy isn't abiding by your request, but I can't stress enough how totally beneficial it has been for my heart. The hardest part? Putting my heart before his, because I want to do anything possible to make him happy, but what I lacked I couldn't give, and it could only be through silence that I achieved it once more. And it will get a little easier over time. I swear it. Don't set a timeline. Call it 'A While.' If you make exceptions, follow them strictly. Consider cutting out facebook. But do whatever is necessary in order to achieve that peace, because
  • How can you give love if you feel it lacking in you? How can you gift happiness if it's hard to find within? Or above all, how can you offer peace if you have none? And how does one achieve peace?
  • Refer to Bullet # 1. Repeat.