Diamond called Hope

The Hope Diamond, originally from India, is one of the most beautiful diamonds in the world. It is now housed in the Smithsonian Institute in the U S. One may only see it and not possess it.

However hope, which can be called a diamond of a virtue, is something every one of us can own. It is, in fact, a thing that none can do without, for it plays a big part in bringing purpose and meaning into our lives. What then is hope? How does it work? What if we happen to lose it? How do we retrieve it?

No project that we undertake is ever begun without hope. Anything we initiate carries with it the expectation of fulfillment. In that sense we are all imbued with hope, deriving from it the enthusiasm and drive to pursue our goals and reach them.

It is when we meet with failure that trouble begins. Betrayal by those whom we trust, harmful acts of rivals, severe illness and the death of loved ones can all result in the disappearance of hope. The consequence is not just inertia. Sorrow and disappointment can throw us into an abyss of despair that offers no escape. It is a situation that can bring about significant changes in personality and outlook. Faith in human goodness is lost and trust turns into mistrust. Illness can make one crabby and demanding and bereavement lead one to wallow in self-pity and defeatism.

Under such circumstances, can hope be awakened and made to play a constructive, healing role?

We cannot do better than to listen to Viktor Frankl, psychiatrist and author of the book, ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’. A prisoner in the dreaded Nazi Death Camp of Auschwitz, he was subjected to unimaginable horrors. He not only survived them, but went on to script a great saga of hope. He bore the vicious brutality unleashed on him and, using hope, triumphed over intense suffering. He believed that he who has a ‘why’ to live can bear almost any ‘how’. In his case, the ‘how’ meant beatings, starvation, freezing cold and back-breaking work. The ‘why’ was the hope of being reunited with his loved ones and continuing his good work as a psychiatrist. This helped him struggle through his sordid suffering. Once freed, he discovered that his wife had died in the camp, but he now concentrated on infusing hope in the lives of those who had lost it. He believed that man is born not so much to find meaning in life as to give meaning to life.

Faced with dejection, there is just one of two things that we can do. We can give in to despair and give up our ideals. On the other hand, we can leave defeat behind  and begin afresh in the hope of a new tomorrow, believing that with time and effort we can make life for us and those around us, happier. Which the better choice is, is more than obvious for who can deny that each new day is the beginning of the rest of our lives?

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