Tag Archives: hopelessness

How Listening to Negative Voices Destroys Our Peace

Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

Imagine hearing this announcement when you start off each day: “Welcome to your own broadcasting show. We’re on the air today and every day. We run from this moment on, for the rest of your life. You can’t shut off the show, but you can choose what to hear. We advise you to choose wisely. Don’t be upset with yourself if the show is not proceeding the way you wish. Instead, thank your mind for working. Be nice and friendly to it. And kindly and respectfully ask your mind to give you a truly great show today. Have a fantastic day, today and every day.”

If the above represents what you would like to hear on your own mental show, then you can choose it. If you would like to run a different show, just choose what you would like to hear.

Your mental broadcast can have any guest you want. What do you want your inner mental guests to say to you? What do you want them to speak about? Choose the subject that you would like your self-talk to be about, for as long as you’d like. You might want to hear a great interview with yourself and your ideals and values. You might want to hear a certain song or many songs that uplift you and help you feel good. You might want to hear a well-known story over again. This could be a story with a lesson that you really need to hear right now. It could be an inspiring story. It could even be an entertaining or a funny story.

If you find yourself broadcasting distressful ideas and thoughts, you can switch to uplifting and joyous ones. You can give yourself messages of hope right now and at any time you choose.

When you listen to recordings of speakers or speeches you like, you can be grateful for the opportunity to add their messages to your own mental library. Once those recordings are stored in your brain, you can access them as often as you like.

Be grateful to the Creator of your mind and your life for giving you your own broadcasting show. The quality of your life depends on the quality of your inner broadcasting show. Keep raising the quality of what you say to yourself, and you will live a happier life, full of self-development and self-empowerment.

-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s book: “Conversations With Yourself”, pp.185

Sorry for the long quote, but I think once again that Rabbi Pliskin makes an excellent point.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this quote lately as it relates to the tremendous amount of negativity we experience, not only from broadcasts on news and social media, but from life experiences as well.

Recently in my small little corner of southwestern Idaho, we had a tragedy were a person from Los Angeles living in a local apartment complex, targeted a child’s birthday party and stabbed nine people, six of them being children. The little girl who had been celebrating her third birthday died a few days after the assault.

It’s things like this that suck any sense of hope out of me.

But I can’t be like that. I mean, if you have faith in God, if you try, however badly, to follow in the footsteps of Rav Yeshua (Jesus Christ), then you can’t just give up.

Believe me, I do have my days, though.

I’m a white, straight, “cisgender” (I still balk at that one for some reason), old, religious, conservative (relative to Idaho, I’m probably a moderate, but relative to hyper-liberal Seattle or San Francisco, I’m likely considered a fascist), married, Dad, Grandpa, male. In other words, for the pundits on twitter and Facebook, I’m public enemy number one, no questions asked.

Really, it’s like I’m not even a person anymore, just a “type.” In fact, it seems caring has stopped being about human beings, and is only conferred if those people belong to certain demographics.

Well, the little murdered girl I mentioned above was an immigrant from the middle east, and relative to the more liberal people who follow my doings on social media, when I posted about my outrage over her death, the only response I got was “crickets.”

I’m reminded of a quote from the original Star Trek series episode “The Immunity Syndrome (1968):

Spock (Leonard Nimoy): I’ve noticed that about your people, Doctor. You find it easier to understand the death of one than the death of a million. You speak about the objective hardness of the Vulcan heart, yet how little room there seems to be in yours.

But let’s turn that around. Are we only to care about the suffering of large groups, but never individuals? Are we only to care about someone because they belong to a disadvantaged group, or can we still care because they’re human. Can’t we care because a single child needlessly lost her life? Why do only children separated from their parents at our southern border matter (and I’m not saying they don’t)?

ruya kadir
A 3-year-old girl died on Monday after suffering a fatal injury during her birthday party outside her family’s Boise apartment complex. (Idaho GOP/Twitter)

I think Picard (Patrick Stewart) once said something about the value of mourning the loss of a single life, but I can’t find the quote after a quick Google search.

Negative messages come in unabated from the news, from social media, and from all around us.

It’s overwhelming, and yes, it engenders a sense of hopelessness.

That’s why I’ve been thinking about the good Rabbi’s quote. I’m not forced to plug the internet into my head. I don’t have to read or listen to or watch negative, hateful, spiteful messages from the world around me. I’m responsible for my own programming and my own self-definition.

So are you.

You may have noticed that people of faith are an easy target for those who feel they hold the moral high ground and are on the “right side of history.” You also don’t have to listen to them. Unless they live with you or are otherwise unavoidable, you can just unplug them.

I don’t recommend doing that permanently. I think it’s important to listen to and understand opposing opinions (unlike those folks who are living in their “save space” or believe that all opposing opinions must immediately be shouted down as “violence” or “hate speech”).

I think we all know that a large part of our self-programming is reading and studying the Bible, and yet, the Bible isn’t as easily and quickly accessed as social media. Given the choice, most of us will choose “the quick and easy path,” to quote Yoda when he discussed the Dark Side of the Force with Luke.

While we can’t ignore the world around us, we can take breaks from it. We can turn off the television, our computers, our smartphones, and otherwise turn off all of the negative, disheartening voices that are ever eager to attempt to overwrite us with their version of justice and morality.

In other words, if you are a negative voice in my life, I can turn you off and restore my peace of mind and spirit.

Human beings who feel like they are the final source for all morality, righteousness, mercy, and justice are terrifying, because believing that, they’re capable of any act, no matter how unjust and cruel, in their name of their own ego, or worse, the ego and highly flexible morals and values of the human race.

I know we religious people are accused of doing the same thing in the name of God, but as an Aish HaTorah Rabbi reminds us, religion is sometimes misused by selfish, greedy people, just as attacks on our faith are also a misuse and misapplication of the true nature of scripture and God.

If we continue to strive to become better disciples of our Rav, whatever part of us that may be guilty of what we are sometimes accused of must fall away. We can remake ourselves through our faith and allow the Spirit to remake us so that we more resemble our Rav in thoughts and deeds.

True, we will still be accused of all manner of crimes simply because of who we are or because someone once did something bad and claimed God told him or her to do it, but that’s not us. It’s not who we are.

We cannot communicate the sense of peace we achieve through our faith and the merit of our Rav if we allow outside influences to throw us into chaos. We can only communicate peace by being peaceful, and here’s the rub:

When people are in emotional pain, they tend to speak and act in ways that sound angry and aggressive. And if you, too, are in emotional pain, you are likely to speak to the other person in ways that he will perceive as angry and aggressive. Each person adds to the emotional pain of the other, and the distress of everyone involved keeps increasing.

When you are calm, it’s easier to see the emotional pain of others. That is when you can build up your attribute of compassion. The goal is to have so much compassion that even when you personally are experiencing emotional pain, you are able to be sensitive to the emotional pain of the person with whom you are interacting.

Coming from a place of compassion you will be able to address the thoughts and feelings of the other person in a way that alleviates his distress. Then he is more likely to speak and act more sensibly and reasonably towards you.

-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s book: Harmony with Others, p.130

When people are angry at us for whatever reason, and we feel pain because if their behavior, we must understand they are in pain, too. Being in pain doesn’t justify unkind, cruel, and unjust responses, and we don’t have to let ourselves be mischaracterized, but it might be a good idea to get past the other person’s anger and discover their pain. Then we’ll have a much better platform on which to build communication.

peaceTake care of yourself. Associate with like-minded believers so that you can support each other. Try (and this is difficult) not to reflexively react when someone in person or (more likely) in social media insults you, either individually or because you belong to some “type” they don’t like, don’t understand, or have been conditioned to despise.

We’re here to help make the world a better place, but if we let the world tear us down, we will have failed.

It starts with being grounded in the Word and in our Rav. His peace can be ours. It just takes a lot of practice.

Try unplugging sometime. I think it will help. It does me.

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God Finds You

One who raises his voice when he davens is among those of diminished faith.

– Berachos 24b

Raising one’s voice in prayer is considered a demonstration of diminished faith in God. According to Rashi, the reason for this is that the person seems to be showing that he thinks that God will not listen to his prayers if they are spoken softly.

We should not interpret this statement literally. After all, only a fool would think that God only hears prayers at a certain audible level. This is not what the Gemara is discussing. Rather, the Gemara is referring to a person who davens regularly, but he feels that his prayers are not answered. There are two ways of reacting when this happens. One conclusion is to understanding that God, in fact, does respond to prayers, and that He cares about every person and every word directed towards Him. It is just that God has determined to not grant the request at this time, due to His system of perfect justice and due to His mercy.

The other conclusion a person might consider is that God is not listening to him. A person whose prayers are “denied” might feel abandoned, and therefore daven more intensively. A person might then hope that this, in and of itself, was the problem. The raising of one’s voice due to the feeling that God has been ignoring the prayers which were spoken softly is a function of a deficient understanding of God’s willingness to hear prayer.

The lesson of this Gemara is that we must strengthen our trust in God and in the knowledge that He cares about each of our prayers. God is continually monitoring every aspect of our willingness to call to Him, and although the answers to our prayers are not always discernible immediately, nevertheless, God responds in a manner that is always in our best interests. Any misunderstanding of this concept may lead to unnecessary hopelessness.

Daf Yomi Digest
Gemara Gem
“Davening in an audible tone”
Berachos 24

Faith and trust in God. I’ve said many times before, that it’s not easy. As we see in the example above, Judaism recognizes that the heart can grow faint and the will becomes weak when God seems to be silent. So too we Christians can feel that something is amiss with our prayers when God won’t turn to us and help us in our need and anguish. How many times have we felt abandoned and cried out, “Where is God?”

Is this all just a test, then? Is God being deliberately silent just to see how we’ll hold up under pressure. That seems kind of cruel, don’t you think? Is that all life is…a test?

This is why many people refuse to come to faith. It’s not because religion is “irrational” or “absolute” or “superstitious.” It’s because faith means you don’t have control of God.

That seems to also mean you don’t have control over your own life. When we say “God is in control,” we’re admitting that we aren’t. Depending on who you are and how to perceive the implications of that statement, it can be either comforting or horrifying. If you trust God implicitly, knowing that He loves you and desires only good for you, it is ultimately comforting to know that God is in control of the universe, rather than a bunch of capricious, double-minded, self-centered human beings. On the other hand, if self-determination and self-direction are the values you prize above all else, imagining yourself turning over everything to a distant, supernatural (and probably fictional) entity would feel like discovering that the pilot of the airplane you’re travelling in, 36,000 feet above the earth, is a chimpanzee.

You’d have absolutely no control over your fate and your doom would be completely assured, unless you could wrest the controls away from the simian and back into your own “competent” hands.

It is in the dark and empty watches of the night, when the voices are all stilled, and your only companion is your doubt, that who you really are in God is revealed. It is not actually a test anymore than any other challenge or frustrating experience is a test. It’s simply how life works. Some days are better than others and you feel the closeness of God as He seems to walk with you during every waking moment. Some nights are worse than others and it seems as if God is long gone from this mortal sphere, and you have been cruelly abandoned.

And even then, unless your faith and trust is totally exhausted and you walk away from God as you believe He has walked away from you, you still search the night for Him. You look for God in your dreams. You seek Him out in your fears. You hope He’ll appear with the dawn. You call out His name in a whisper.

If we were truly humble, we would not be forever searching higher paths on the mountaintops. We would look in the simple places, in the practical things that need to be done.

True, these are places in a world of falsehood. If the world only had a little more light, none of this would be necessary.

But the soul that knows its place knows that the great and lofty G‑d is not found at the summit of mountains, but in the simple act of lending a hand or a comforting word in a world of falsehood and delusions.

-Rabbi Tzvi Freeman
“The Path of the Humble”
Based on letters and talks of the Rebbe
Rabbi M. M. Schneerson
Chabad.org

And then you find Him when you are completely distracted by the needs of others. You find God in the simple acts of kindness you do every day. You discover your Maker in your gifts to the poor, or the smile on a grateful face. God finds you when you aren’t even looking for Him.

 

Underlying Reality

At the core of all our thoughts and beliefs lies the conviction that the underlying reality is wholly good. That evil lies only at the surface, a thin film of distortion soon to be washed away by the waves.

-Rabbi Tzvi Freeman
“Essential Good”
Based on letters and talks of the Rebbe
Rabbi M. M. Schneerson
Chabad.org

That hardly seems likely. Given the record of wars, crime, and rampant injustice that is written all over human history, it’s extremely difficult to reconcile all of that with the statement, “reality is wholly good.” For me, it’s as difficult as believing the following to be true:

Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.

-Anne Frank

I still experience astonishment when imagining how a young Jew in the middle of the Holocaust could pen such a statement. Didn’t the Nazis teach her that humanity is essentially evil?

Of course religious Jews and Christians see the nature of humanity as fundamentally different. Jews see our nature as basically good but influenced by an inclination for evil while Christians see that the fall of Adam resulted in the nature of human beings becoming wholly evil and irredeemable without Jesus Christ. Jews believe people have an active part in working toward repairing themselves and their damaged world while Christians believe we are totally helpless and only through Christ is there any hope at all.

I believe Jesus was serious when he said:

Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” –Luke 18:8 (ESV)

Our modern religious world isn’t in any better shape than the secular world surrounding us. We are subject to the same pressures, frailties, passions, temptations, and lusts as the rest of humanity. Christians like to believe we are somehow immune from those forces thanks to the grace of Jesus Christ but scandal upon scandal in the church that has made the headlines over the past several decades shows us otherwise. Dear Christian, if God were to open your heart and show every dirty sin you’ve ever committed in living color on national television, would the reputation of God (already rather shaky in a progressive secular politically correct society) topple completely in the eyes of the common person?

Many religious and inspirational pundits, including Rabbi Freeman have said in one way or another that, “you are what you think,” but what you think won’t affect a morally and ethically corrupt reality.

To know that this world is not some wild jungle where whoever is stronger or richer or smarter can abuse and destroy without regard for those beneath them — this is not a matter of religion or faith, particular to one people or group of believers. This is the underlying reality — that this world has a Master, and it is not any of us.

A peaceful society can only endure when it is built upon that which is real.

-Rabbi Tzvi Freeman
“Getting Real”
Based on letters and talks of the Rebbe
Rabbi M. M. Schneerson
Chabad.org

There are times when I can see the attraction of retreats and monasteries; of withdrawing into a cloistered and sheltered environment isolated from the hideousness of the world around us. In truth though, what I seek most when I have such thoughts, is to be isolated from the corruption within myself. At least if I say or do something that is considered unacceptable to the irreligious and progressive world, in an isolated sanctuary, there are a limited number of people who will be impacted and hopefully, I will be my only victim.

Unfortunately, there’s nowhere to go and no place to hide, even from myself, and between the options of seeking hope and expecting total, catastrophic failure in my life, I can only sit and wait to see which one will endure and which one will perish. Anne Frank had hope and she died anyway. The Nazis were ultimately defeated and the death camps turned into testaments warning the next generation against evil, but antisemitism, Jew hatred, and the desire among almost all the nations of the world (and all the major news agencies) to exterminate every living Israeli (Jewish) man, woman, and infant are still unashamedly rampant.

In spite of all this, Rabbi Freeman still has the nerve (I’m speaking tongue-in-cheek right now) to post a series of articles called meditations on happiness. Even if an individual can somehow achieve a state of happiness or (amazingly) joy, the world should just surround that person with its very nature and crush that spirit to a bloody death, as a serpent might crush the eggs of a swan. But then Rabbi Freeman also said this:

It’s not that Abraham and Moses gave the world the ideas of morality and value of life. These ideas were known to Adam and to Noah — only that with time, humankind had mostly forgotten them.

What these giants brought to the world was a greater idea: That the values essential to humanity’s survival can only endure when they are seen as an outcome of monotheism. They must be tied to an underlying reality, and that reality is the knowledge of a Oneness that brings us into being.

One of my favorite episodes of the TV series M*A*S*H (1972-1983) is called Dear Sigmund. Psychiatrist Sydney Freedman (played by Allan Arbus) is undergoing what you might call a “crisis of faith,” but in his case, it isn’t faith in God but rather, faith in his abilities as a psychiatrist. One of his patients has committed suicide, so he “retreats” to the 4077 and amid the insanity typical among people like Hawkeye, BJ, and Klinger, he starts writing a letter to the founder of modern psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud. This doesn’t go unnoticed:

Capt. B.J. Hunnicut (Mike Farrell): We couldn’t help but notice that you came for the poker game and stayed two weeks.
Maj. Sidney Freedman: Well, I just wanted a little vacation.
Capt. Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce (Alan Alda): Sydney, Venice is a vacation. The Swiss Alps is a vacation. This is a fungus convention in Atlantic City.

At one point in his letter to Freud (who at that point in history, was already deceased), Sydney crystallizes the alternative to rage or despair in the face of hopelessness:

Anger turned inwards is depression. Anger turned sideways… is Hawkeye.

I suppose that was the whole point of the eleven year run of the M*A*S*H series. In the face of something has horrible and crazy as war, it is still possible to survive it and find a third alternative besides depression and anger…controlled insanity.

Well, to be fair, a wacky sense of humor.

I used to believe that the last coping mechanism that would fail me when all others went the way of the Dodo bird would be humor, but that too becomes buried along with everything else when the weight of both the world and my personality descend upon me. But then neither Hawkeye or Sydney relied on anything like faith in God (which was already unpopular in 1976 when the “Dear Sigmund” episode first aired).

At the end of the episode, Sydney’s “vacation” at M*A*S*H enabled him to realize that a small bud of hope had begun to grow within him and he felt the need to nurture it. God doesn’t provide vacations for the “tired soul” so all I have to hope for is that He’ll eventually show a small bit of mercy.

It’s not like life is so bad. Compared to most folks, I’ve got it pretty good. It’s just that I can see past the facade into the inner workings of the machine, and I realize that the spinning of its cogs and sprockets and all the stuff we tend to believe makes life meaningful are just the mechanism operating in futility, like some obscene Rube Goldberg machine that looks wonderful but performs absolutely no useful function.

So I’m sitting at a bus stop at the intersection of Hope and Futility waiting to see which bus will show up first…and which one I’ll take for a ride.

I wonder what would happen if I wrote a letter called, “Dear God?”

Hope in Hopelessness

Last week at the Western Wall, I asked an elderly man to put on tefillin. He strongly refused.

I asked him, “When was the last time you put on tefillin?”

He smiled and proudly said, “72 years ago!” He held out his arm to show me the fading tattooed numbers. “1938,” he said. “It was the day of Kristallnacht. Do you know what Kristallnacht is?”

“Of course I do,” I told him.

“Two hundred and sixty-seven synagogues were burned down in one night. They burned down our synagogue, too. My tefillin were burnt up, and I have never put them on again,” he said.

“I have a friend who was in the camps, too,” I quickly said, “and he not only puts on tefillin today, but he even put them onto others inside the camp! Do you want to hear how he got tefillin into the camp?”

“Yes,” he said strongly. “How did he get them in there?”

-Gutman Locks
“Tefillin After 72 Years”
Stories of the Holocaust series
Chabad.org

I can’t even imagine what it would have been like to experience the horrors of the Holocaust. Like many Americans, I live a relatively comfortable life. I don’t really know what it’s like to go without adequate food, shelter, or clothing. I’ve been in the hospital before, but remain fairly healthy. I was once beaten by several men during a riot when I was 16 and spent some time recovering, but I was home and eventually after over a year, I began to let myself feel safe again. In short, I’ve faced a certain number of challenges over my lifetime, but none have been overly difficult.

I can’t even imagine what it would have been like to experience the horrors of the Holocaust.

I can’t even imagine what it would be like to have a wife who is struggling with cancer and who may die.

I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be the father of terminally ill child.

Frankly, I don’t want to imagine, let alone have to actually face such hideous tragedies in life. I don’t know how people do it and, I’m ashamed to say, I don’t even know how people of faith do it.

Where do you find hope in hopelessness? It’s one thing to say “I rely on my God for my strength,” and it’s another thing to actually live it out, one day at a time, one horrible, agonizing minute at a time. What can you do when someone delivers the terrible news and your courage melts like a plastic sandwich bag in the face of an inferno? What do you do when you’re a young, teenage boy and you and your mates are being herded into the gas chambers by the Nazis and you have only minutes to live?

“He began his story. The Nazis had come to the ghetto and grabbed 137 young boys. He told me that only five of them survived. Only five.

“He was thirteen and a half years old. He was wearing the high boots that his father had bought him, and when he saw them coming, he stuffed his tefillin into one boot and his prayerbook in the other.

“They pushed the boys into a cattle car and drove them to the death camp, not far from the ghetto. When the train stopped, they slid open the side of the cattle car and immediately began pushing them toward the open door of the gas chamber. The boys were frightened and cried out. They asked Laibel, ‘What should we do?’ He told them, ‘We’re going to stand in rows five across, and we’re going to march right into that gas chamber singing a song of faith, the “Ani Maamin.”’ And they did just that. They stood in rows five across, and started singing and marching right into the chamber.

“The guards became so confused that they did not know what to do. They screamed, ‘You can’t do that! No one has ever done such a thing before. Stop it! Stop it at once! Here! Go over there to the showers instead!’

“They pushed them over to the showers, and forced them to undress and throw their clothing into a pile in the middle of the floor. They made them empty their shoes, and the tefillin and prayerbook fell out onto the pile.

“After the shower, when they were dressed in camp clothes and were being pushed out, past the pile of their clothes, Laibel saw his tefillin and prayerbook lying there. He wanted so badly to run and pick them up, but terrifying guards were watching. He said to the boys, ‘I did something for you, so now you do something for me.’

“‘Whatever you want,’ they said. ‘You saved our lives.’

“He said, ‘When I give the signal, start a fight and scream out loud. Okay . . . now!’ The boys started to fight and scream. The guards ran over and tried to pull them apart, but they wouldn’t stop fighting. In the confusion, he ran over and grabbed his tefillin and prayerbook, and hid them under his arms.

Laibel not only managed to retrieve his tefillin but he wore them (clandestinely) in the camp and helped other Jews wear them, too. In the story commemorating his courage, we discover him as an old man today helping men wear tefillin at the Kotel.

And he looked me in the eye and said, ‘And I put tefillin on other men, too.’ I started to cry, and I kissed him on his yarmulke.

“The day after Laibel told me his story, there was a soldier at the Western Wall who wouldn’t put on tefillin. No matter what I said, he simply refused. Then I told him Laibel’s story, and he quickly said, ‘Okay, I’ll do it.’

“And you can do it, too,” I said to the elderly gentleman who hadn’t donned tefillin in 72 years, as I gently slid the tefillin I was holding onto his arm. He said the blessing and started to cry. We said the Shema, and he prayed for his family. He began to smile even while the tears were streaming down his face. A crowd gathered around and congratulated him on overcoming all those years of rejection.

You do not always succeed, but you always have to try.

If there has ever been a hopeless place on earth, it was in the Nazi death camps during the Holocaust. Even those who were not immediately killed expected to die a lingering and torturous death. Even those who survived and who were liberated didn’t expect to live any sort of “normal” Jewish life again. Who could after seeing what they saw and experiencing what they lived through? Even after more than seven decades, Holocaust survivors are suffering delayed post-traumatic stress disorder. The statement is so obvious, it’s almost laughable to report it in the media. Of course they’re suffering after seventy years? Who wouldn’t?

But after over seventy years, some have turned suffering and hopelessness into hope, not just for themselves but for each other. Laibel turns hopelessness into hope every time he helps another Jewish man don tefillin and pray at the Kotel. A Jewish man who hadn’t worn tefillin in seventy-two years because of the nightmare of Kristallnacht put on tefillin again because of Laibel’s inspiration, “said the blessing and started to cry.”

While most of us have never faced such horrendous, nightmarish, ghastly experiences as those of Holocaust survivors, as those who are battling desperately invasive cancer, as those who are anxiously trying to comfort a dying child, we still know the world is filled with hopelessness and despair. All of us face some sort of problem, some sort of challenge, something that makes us want to give up our fight to move forward or maybe even the fight to live.

I have no magic to give you. I have no secret formula with which you can overcome your hardships or worries or fears or tears. I can say “rely on God” but for even those men and women who do rely on Him with an almost superhuman faith and courage, the battle is hard and surrender to the darkness is a constant companion.

But amazingly there is still hope. Laibel must be well over eighty years old and for him, hope is helping just one more man put on tefillin, maybe for the first time in decades, and speak words of blessing to God. Hope is saying, “I love you” to a dying little boy. Hope is continuing to pray for your spouse, even though multiple organs are compromised by cancer and years of radiation and chemotherapy haven’t put the demon back in the bottle.

Hope is in the tears you cry. Hope is in your screams of anguish. Hope is being able to go on when life is impossible. Hope is a man learning how to pray again while crying after seventy-two years.

Hope is the faint light of a tiny candle holding the encroaching abyss at bay.

Hope is God.