I recall recommending The Hope Line as a worthy charity earlier this year. Unlike most other charities, it doesn’t offer material or financial help to those who come to it. Rather, it offers a sympathetic ear and voice. Its workers will talk to you about anything, but an emphasis on…drum roll, please…hope. Within that lies a perception and a sensitivity that eludes the great majority of persons with a helping disposition.
The great shortage that afflicts our time is hope.
People seek many different things: love, health, better work, better pay, the approval of supervisors, social acceptance, relief of need, relief of boredom, and other things. These discrete yearnings are not “the core of the apple,” so to speak. The common factor is the old sequence:
- I want this and that.
- I don’t have [enough of] it.
- Do I have any prospect of getting it?
Getting a yes to that final query eludes quite a lot of us. That’s where the importance of hope arises. Sad to say, many people, even in this most blessed of all countries, don’t have much hope.
Now, there are things people yearn for that are unworthy. The less said about them, the better. But those who seek unobjectionable things, yet have little hope of attaining them, are often without anyone to listen to them or counsel them. The Hope Line provides that sympathetic listener.
Yes, it’s Christian in nature and approach. That doesn’t impinge on its worth in the slightest. Non-Christians have used it to their benefit. Indeed, I don’t think a Hope Line worker will ask you a caller about his faith, or whether he’s religious at all.
If you’re feeling generous, The Hope Line is a worthy place to put a contribution. I don’t say that because of any benefit it would bring me. The subject of hope has been on my mind recently.
Catholics call ourselves people of hope. But hope isn’t a “private” virtue; it’s something that demands to be shared. Sharing it with others who are low on it might seem difficult, perhaps even pushy. But when someone like that comes to you, are you ready to perform?
All hope, whatever the object, is rooted in one or both of two possibilities;
- Human free will;
- The love and mercy of God.
Free will within a lawful universe means that virtually anything is possible given the will, skill, and relevant tools. Because no individual possesses all the skills or all the tools, for many things we must work together. But others’ free will motivates them to do likewise. That brings us together with those who can help us, more often than not.
The greatest thing, though, is the desire to know whether “it all means something:” the core question that animates religion. That’s a tough nut. You won’t find a great many people disposed to chat about that, these days. The notion that we shouldn’t talk about religion with others – others who don’t already agree with us, at least – is firmly embedded in our mores. And for good reason: it tends to breed ill-feeling. Sometimes it starts fights.
The Joker in the deck is that the only way that “it all means something” is if God is real, and if He’s well-disposed toward His creatures. If we are mere accidents of chemistry, then “it” – i.e., human life and experience – cannot possibly mean anything. For the multitudes that are desperate for love, appreciation, and acceptance, but have no one to buttress their hope for those things, The Hope Line there and ready to take your call.
You may be thinking that I feel strongly, even passionately, about this. I did name my first science-fiction novel Which Art In Hope, after all. My interstellar fugitives had to be rich in hope, from first to last, to embrace the journey that brought them to their new home. When they reached it, and discovered that it wasn’t quite as idyllic as it seemed from space, they had to continue to hope: i.e., that their great minds would find a solution before the hostile biochemistry of the planet killed them all. And so it was…with some rather unfortunate consequences. (You’ll have to read the book to learn about those.)
Are you one of the many who doubt your own value? Who suffer from a dearth of hope or a surfeit of worry? Is the thing you need most a sympathetic ear and the voice of one who will treat you seriously, rather than as “just another complainer?”
Call (931) 994-5614 at any time of day, or go to The Hope Line’s website and chat with someone there via the Web. You’ll find that sharing hope is one of their fortes. The other…let’s have another drum roll, Dexter…is love.
May God bless and keep you all!