to look forward to with confidence or expectation; a wish or desire accompanied by confident expectation of its fulfillment

Written By Caren Goldman

In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.

Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.

There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow.

HOW MANY TIMES have the words “I hope everything will be okay” tumbled out of your mouth in response to unsettling news? A while back, they circled in my mind as I learned that the Rev. Bill Dols, one of my dearest friends and mentors, had cancer.

As former breast cancer patients, both Bill’s wife, Shirley, and I agreed we knew what he might have felt upon hearing that dreaded C word. Confusion, fear, anger, guilt, sorrow, apprehension, anxiety, and emptiness were all possibilities. But, I knew from experience, hopeful was, too.

Hope, my encounter with cancer taught me, is an attitude that’s seated in our hearts to help us live in the tension between our wishes and desires on one hand and our disappointments, failures, tragedies, and despair on the other. Hope, says Benedictine Brother David Steindl-Rast, is openness for surprise as we stand poised between the already and the not-yet. It is the
pilgrim’s passion for the possible that “holds the present open for an ever fresh future.”

Whenever we pilgrims on the way trip over sickness, loss, and other stumbling blocks, it is hope that bolsters our resolve to search for a healing path. Hope for wellness, vitality, and a better life urges us to move forward into an unknown future with treatments, protocols, requests for help, and other practical responses. Hope sets our hearts and our sights on our goals and sustains our desire to attain them. Hope does not require us to be optimists instead of pessimists. It just asks that even in our most cynical moments we do not shut the door to a fresh future.

While waiting for Bill to tell me what his doctors had told him about his cancer, I hoped his healing path would be gentle. “They got everything and I won’t need radiation or chemo,” he told me later. “However, I have to go back in four months. They want to see if it returns . . . .”

We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.


My hope sets my heart and my sights on goals that help heal me.

Hope is the last thing ever lost. 

Hope holds up the head. 

Healing Words for the Body Mind and Spirit by Caren Goldman

From Healing Words for the Body, Mind and Spirit by Caren Goldman. Copyright © 2001, 2009 by Caren Goldman. Used with permission from Morehouse Publishing, an imprint of Church Publishing Inc. PART OF THE PROCEEDS FROM THE SALE OF THIS NEW BOOK WILL BE DONATED TO BREAST AND OTHER CANCER CAUSE, CARE, AND PREVENTION ORGANIZATIONS.

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