I would like to talk about the role of hope in our lives when bad things happen.

Not a Singular Tool

Some people use hope as a singular tool stating that because they have hope, no other action is necessary. For example, “Because I have hope, I don’t need to fight the Aliens. The alien army will disappear on its own.”

Not an Excuse to Avoid Danger or Hard Work

Along those lines, but a little different, some people use hope as an excuse to not take action. For example, “Because I have hope, the power of my positive attitude will affect the aliens and cause their army to shrink and go away. I don’t need to engage in a terrifying battle because studies have proven the power of hope.”

Not an Act of Desperation

Some people use hope as a last-ditch act of desperation after they have tried everything else. For example, “We have tried everything else, every negotiation and every treaty, foreign and domestic, and nothing else has worked. Now is the time to just sit in our bomb shelter and hope.”

Here’s the problem with all of these, they suggest that hope is a tool — like a hammer — that you bring out individually to fulfill a specific purpose. They suggest that hope cannot be used at the same time or in conjunction with any other tool or action. But here’s the thing, hope is not a tool in your toolbox. It’s the joy, attitude, and grace that covers every action you take. It’s the glitter on the handle of every tool in your workshop. Let me explain with another story.

Hope is not a single tool in your toolbox. To be used alone, by itself, for a single purpose. It’s the glitter coating on the handles of every tool in your entire workshop. 

A Friend who Loves Glitter

I have a friend who loves glitter. Her relationship with glitter breaks all normal boundaries in this human world. She is also not a very handy person when it comes to construction (go figure) and would, generally, never willingly pick up a hammer. But, we had an appointment with Habitat for Humanity and the instructions were clear—bring your own hammer. The entire week leading up to the event, she was eager to help but apprehensive about the type of work. But, I showed up at her door on Saturday morning with a pink glittered hammer. I literally dipped the hammer in this pink glitter paint. Immediately her mood changed and she was off-the-charts excited. That pink paint was the confidence boost she needed. She worked harder than anyone else on the site that day.

Cancer Patients, Chemo and Hope

Time and time again we hear that cancer patients who have hope have a better chemo outcome. Notice that the patients didn’t say “I have hope so I don’t need chemo.” No, they said “I have hope and I am going to use every tool in my toolbox to fight this.” They have confidence in their tools and their ability to win the fight.

Hope is Not A Hammer

Hope is not a single tool in your toolbox that you pull out when tragedy strikes. Hope is not a last-minute act of desperation that you use when everything else has failed. Hope is constant and pervades every action you take.

The next time that tragedy strikes, and you decide you it’s time to fight—dip your tools in a bucket of hope before you head out to war (or at least some pink glitter paint).