Hope: The Greatest of Things

The Shawshank RedemptionImage via Wikipedia
"There's a small place inside of us they can never lock away, and that place is called hope." Andy Dufresne, The Shawshank Redemption

In the very popular movie Shawshank Redemption, there is a scene in which Andy is sitting in the courtyard with his buddy Red talking about being locked up for the rest of his life.  Instead of despair, Andy tells Red that there is something more powerful, something that not even bars or guards can take from you.  He is talking about HOPE.  He says, “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best thing, and no good thing ever dies”."  But isn't hope just a word?  Does it really have any practical meaning, or is it just another one of those fluffy, feel good words people throw around so they don't seem so darn depressed?

Sometimes people use hope and faith interchangeably, but they are not the same.  How are they different?


1. Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
2. Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.


Verb: Want something to happen or be the case: "he's hoping for compensation"; "I hopethat the kids are OK".
Noun: A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. Wikipedia 

Read the Wikipedia definitions above.  You will see that Faith is a belief, a complete trust and confidence, where as Hope is a "wanting."  Faith is based on a spiritual fact and Hope is based on a desire.  So why do we need hope if we have faith?  Good question.  The answer in my opinion is because humans have dreams.  I can have complete faith in God and still hope for my hearts desires.  I believe that is what Andy meant when he said, "it is the greatest of things."  If we stopped dreaming, desiring, and hoping, then we stop living.  Another life-changing quote from that movie comes from Andy's friend Red.  He said, "get busy living, or get busy dying."  Hope is the difference between them.

Although most of us do not live behind bars or in confined spaces, we still may feel trapped in our circumstances and hopelessness.  I have been here many times.  When people get "trapped" and have feelings of hopelessness they often fall into depression.  Depression is a result of hopelessness.  It robs of us our dignity, happiness, and dreams.  Without dreams people become lethargic, often described as someone who can't find a reason to get out of bed in the morning.  We lose meaning in our life and ultimately energy to live it.  To remain in hope truly IS the greatest of things.  It gives our lives purpose, direction and meaning.

One of the most beautiful descriptions of hope happens at the end of the movie as Red is anxiously riding on that bus to who-knows-where, and he thinks excitedly to himself,  "hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope."

Today and everyday try to remember these lines from that very inspiring movie about hope.  Because in the end, no matter how tough things seem today, there IS always.....HOPE for tomorrow.  


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