A Superseding Hope

I warm my tired hands on the sides of the mug, and inhale the coffee aroma hugging my face. I take a sip, stare at my blank computer screen in the morning light, and hope today brings success instead of rejection letters.

Hope. Some days it feels like hope is all we have left. It’s a word we take for granted. “Hope you have a good day!” the cashier says. “Hope you feel better,” we tell a sick friend. We honestly hope these things happen. Who wouldn’t want a good day or a loved one to feel better? (Assuming you don’t exist in a mystery novel where you hope a loved one dies so you can inherit their great wealth. That’s a different kind of hope. But I digress.)

Hope springs when we dream big. Bigger than our circumstances. We hope our children grow up to be better than us, our marriage lasts, and the sun breaks through the storm clouds.

When I searched for quotes about hope, I found a surprising fact. There are over a dozen hopeful quotes from a man I didn’t expect: Christopher Reeve.

If you’re not familiar with this name, let me give you a brief bio: Christopher Reeve was an actor who played Superman/Clark Kent in the first blockbuster Superman movie in 1978. He played this role in proceeding movies and starred in other famous films such as “Somewhere In Time.” Sadly, Reeve fell off his horse in 1995 during a race and became paralyzed from the neck down. He would no longer be able to walk, move his hands, hold his children, or do anything by himself. But he never lost hope.

Despite being paralyzed, Reeve became a better husband and father than he was before. He continued to act, and started a foundation with his wife to help other paralyzed people. He’s quoted to say although he doesn’t believe in the Lord, he tries to live as if God is real. He HOPED God existed, though he was taught otherwise. Just like he hoped to regain feeling in his limbs again.

The Bible says “hope deferred makes the heart sick.” In other words, when the thing we hope for gets postponed/delayed/canceled, it sickens us worse than if we never hoped at all. Hope is a risk. It’s probably why so many choose to wallow in current situations. We push that hope aside, laugh, and say “yeah, maybe one day.” We build walls around ourselves, protecting us from our hopes crashing.

We hoped we’d get those amazing jobs, but get rejections instead. We settle for lower paying jobs, or even accept unemployment life. We hoped for a lasting relationship. But it breaks apart. When more fail, we resign to live alone. We hoped the lockdowns would end in April, June, November, after the vaccine, then we resign to call this the new normal.

We don’t start with a give-up attitude, but after enough rejections we choose to believe giving up is what we’re supposed to do. We tell ourselves we’re not actually failing; if we were meant to do it, we’d have succeeded long ago.

“Sometimes God closes a door.”

“God closed that door and will open a window.”

Neither statement is biblical. When God leads you somewhere, He NEVER goes back on His word. His promises are “Yes and Amen!”

When our hearts are sick, they don’t need to stay that way. The scripture I half-quoted earlier is from Proverbs 13:12, and finishes by saying “but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.”

For every story of failure, there’s a story of triumph. An author getting a contract on the one hundred and first try. A third marriage lasting twenty years.

Even though Christopher Reeve died at the young age of 52, at the time of his death he regained partial movement in his fingers and toes. He even said he could feel a pin prick anywhere on his body as well as differentiate hot and cold temperatures. I hope he found God in the end too.

Hope supersedes our circumstances. It doesn’t listen to our lack, but dreams about a bright future. It gives us a vision of our possible reality. Hope can make any of us feel like superman.

When I breathed out my hopes this morning, I said it as a prayer, and acted on it. I hope for a good day, then I have a good day. Regardless of my circumstances. It’s not living in denial or a fantasy world; it’s living a life of faithful hope.

I’ve received rejections brimming with “deferred hope” over thirty times in the last two months concerning my latest book. Email rejections from literary agents, well-meaning fellow writers saying my genre doesn’t sell, and a few depressed people telling me I should give up like they have. (Honestly, I’m not making that last one up. I’m saddened for those individuals.)

I also have many friends giving encouragement, hugs (yes, I still relish hugs!), and uplifting advice. I’m thankful for it all!

I’ve been dealing with a lot lately. Situations I don’t care to burden the rest of the world with. But I say this to assure you I’m not someone living a stress-free, prosperous, healthy, joyful, no-problems life. And yet…that’s also the exact life I’m living. Through God. Through faith. And through hope.

I could wake up full of pain, alone, broke, and no end in sight… nevertheless, I hope. We don’t know which day will bring success or breakthroughs. When this pandemic will finally cease. And I don’t know when my books will be published.

But we keep trying. Keep living. Keep hoping.

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