A Letter of Hope

One experience of my life before I was sick helped me much in hours of depression, for I have had hours when I was intensely unhappy; only I could always feel the sun shinning behind the cloud, and the thoughts and impulses never came in the “real ego.” I suppose a few people ever went down into a mine. I did once, and into a shaft where you had to descend and ascend by ladders. As we were returning to the surface my companions said: “Wait a minute on this round,—-stand firm and twist your arms about this round so and hold fast, and then throw you head back a little, think of nothing else but look up. I am going to put out the lantern” ; which he did before I could remonstrate, and such a blackness I never imagined. I looked up and there as the evening star shinning with such brilliancy and power straight down the mouth of the shaft that I could not utter a word or thing of anything else. He lighted the lantern at last and we climbed to the surface in silence. Was he not wise not to say or suggest anything to my mind about the abyss that yawned below me? That evening star has always had new power and meaning to me ever since I saw it from the depth. And so, after our sickness and periods of unhappiness, the stars of faith and hope that shine through our darkness have new power for us. Sometimes, after trying every round of the ladder of effort to pull myself out of a feeling of unhappiness, I have had to wait on some round and hold fast. A doctor once said to me, “Be bold of those hours of waiting after you have tried every means to change the current of your thoughts; not being bold doesn’t make it good. Bear them as you would severe pains, after you have tried every remedy, with patience offering the thoughts themselves even, up to God, in some such way. “I cannot stop these thoughts or feelings. Take them from if it be Thy Will.” And when I stopped being unconcerned about them they stopped after a very short time. Doctors say, “While there is life there is hope.” I propose turning this saying round, While there is hope there is life. Hope cures diseases than medicines. Even we ourselves groan within ourselves waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope, but hope that is seen is not hope, for what a man seeth why doth he yet hope for. But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it, and every man who hath this hope in himself purified himself.”

E. Worcester 1908

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