3 Ways Hope Can Overcome Despair


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on June 20, 2019.


According to the great English writer, J.R.R. Tolkien, “Oft hope is born when all is forlorn.” When I first discovered this pithy quote by the creator of Middle Earth, I paused and pondered his words’ truth. More often than not, the seed of hope gets planted within the soil of my loneliness.

Over the past year, my wife and I experienced spiritual highs and lows. Currently, I am in a period of stability—a time where hope is my guiding light! Reflecting back on my personal valleys, I realized that the times I felt distant from God, my friends, and even my wife. Oddly enough, this become an opportunity for me to turn to the virtue of hope! Since I placed my hope [and ultimately greater trust in the Lord], I am better anchored in my faith—even in the midst of continual strife.

Mahatma Gandhi once declared, “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.” Hope defends against despair, especially hope in truth, goodness, and beauty. According to Mike Pacer in Mercy and Hope, “Hope guides us through the darkness. It assures of the light that is just beyond our sight.” Along with this profound insight, I discovered three easy ways which helped shift my mindset away from despair and towards hope.

Hope

Larger Piece of the Puzzle

Growing up my mom and I used to always work on jigsaw puzzles during hot summer days or cold winter months. Five hundred and one thousand piece puzzles seem daunting at first. What helped alleviate any anxiety is knowing that I was not alone in figuring out how the pieces fit together. A second key aspect to putting together puzzles is forming the outside frame first. Finishing the perimeter provided hope in solving the puzzle!

Getting lost in the shuffle of life is analogous to navigating through a massive jigsaw puzzle. Without borders and helpers it’s easy to lose hope and give up. Puzzles provide a concrete example of how different pieces fit together perfectly to create a completed picture. Knowing your place in the world—as a piece to the larger story of life—may be helpful in lessening anxiety and orient us towards hope.

Hope Our True Consoler, Not False Optimism

Dovetailing off the previous point, the virtue of hope is a true helper.  Mike Pacer writes, “The key to hope is to acknowledge our feelings and separate them from reality (Mercy and Hope p.121). Hope isn’t the same as wishful thinking or mere pseudo-optimism. A realness exists with hope. The virtue of hope does not produce a placebo effect like false-optimism.

Holy Spirit and Hope

God gives us the gift of hope. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph number 691, “When he proclaims and promises the coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus calls him the “Paraclete,” literally, “he who is called to one’s side,” ad-vocatus.18 “Paraclete” is commonly translated by “consoler,” and Jesus is the first consoler.19 The Lord also called the Holy Spirit “the Spirit of truth.”

St. Therese of Liseux quote

Heaven—the Final Frontier

Referring to St. Paul’s assertion for our yearning for Heaven in Hebrews 13:14, Mike Pacer declared, “We are not living in our permanent home. Rather, we are on a journey. We have a definite destination (Mercy and Hope pp. 134-135). Put another way, St. Augustine’s axiom, “Our souls are restless until they rest in thee [God].” All the material possessions, power, and control in the world do not offer long-term and lasting fulfillment. Humanity keeps yearning for something greater, and greater, and greater!

St. Therese of Liseux famously summed up this truth using a nautical example, “The world’s thy ship and not thy home!” Earthly existence is a pilgrim journey. The virtue of hope allows us to don our theological lens to view more clearly that Heaven is the final frontier!


O my God, relying on your infinite goodness and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of your grace, and life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer.

Related Links

Five Ways to Move from Despair to Hope

Hope: A Misunderstood Virtue

3 Titles of Mary that Give Me Hope

Satan’s Sinister Weapon—Dosage of Despair


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3 Ways Creativity and Collaboration Must be Partners

Helen Keller wrote, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” As a recent Linked user and creative individual, teamwork and content creation has been on the forefront of my mind. My recent post 3 Reasons Why Containing Creativity is Impossible, mentions a bit on the importance of working together with others on a creative project. I wrote, “Whenever I feel my creativity spirit drying up I look to the creative individuals to reignite my creativity.”

Creativity does not occur in a vacuum

Creativity cannot happen in a vacuum. Creating something involves a community. Children are born from the union of mother and father. Houses are built with many individuals. Book projects involve the collaboration of the author, proofreaders, editors, publicists, and marketing teams. This post will focus on three distinct ways creativity and collaboration must be partners.

Humans are Social Creatures

According to the Greek philosopher Aristotle, “Man is by nature a social animal.” Even further back in history, the Bible recognized the importance of communion. God created Eve to be a partner for Adam. Since the inception of humanity, people need others for help and support.

The dictionary defines creativity as “the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.” Every major advancement in human history occurred via the creative endeavor. Such endeavors rarely occur in isolation. A creative idea ultimately serves not only the originator, but the betterment of society as a whole.

Creativity Gets Multiplied Never Divided

Tennis legend Althea Gibson stated, “No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helped you.” Creativity never loses momentum. Collaborating on an idea or invention does not reduce creativity. Collaboration enhances creativity. More minds working together multiplies creativity.

Seeing collaboration occur professionally on LinkedIn or in the domestic setting of the family unit is exciting. Henry Ford spoke of working together in this way, “”Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” The interactions between entrepreneurs and family members displays the multiplication of creativity. For instance, my oldest son just got into Pokémon (the inner geek in me is so proud!) “Avila can be the ground Pokémon and we can be the Pokémon Masters!” declared my older two kids as they plotted their latest fictional safari. Seeing the joy glint from their eyes truly warms my heart.  Sibling success— for the moment!

Marketplace of Ideas

Marketplace of Ideas

The late innovator and former Apple CEO Steve Jobs declared, “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.” In a sense, great ideas are found instead of created. When asked about his legendary fiction world of Middle Earth, J.R.R. Tolkien shrugged off the idea of him being this creative genius. He merely “discovered” a world waiting to be found.

Collaboration and creativity create a marketplace of ideas. The information boom developed since the inception of the internet as not only made information more accessible to more people, but also allows more people to interact. Sharing information on social media is not only good, but essential moving forward. According to Bertrand Russell, “The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.” The age of ruthless competition is over. Collaboration connects humanity. Collaboration leads to more minds reflecting on the major issues we face as a human race. Creativity flows in that marketplace of ideas.

Start Collaborating Now!

Collaboration and Creativity

Never be afraid to ask for help to jump-start your creativity. Creativity does not exist in a singular mind. Every creative endeavor requires the close partnership of collaboration. The social aspect of humanity, multiplication of imagination, and great opportunity to participate in the marketplace of ideas show the necessity for cooperation in the modern world and creating content.

I am blessed to live in this information and collaborative time in human history. I challenge you to reach out to someone this month and collaborate on a project: a blog post, an article, podcast, or video. Share your past collaborative endeavors in the comments. I would love you hear about the fruits and creativity born from your collaborations!

Related Link

https://thesimplecatholic.blog/2019/06/25/3-reasons-why-containing-creativity-is-impossible/

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