Recently, while working in the emergency department, I was witness to a small family group as their loved one was slipping away. I could hear their conversations with each other and with the ER staff. I wasn't eavesdropping, but they were only a few feet from where I was on a ladder. I remember some of the conversation parts, but the words were less important that what was hanging on each one of them. It was obvious to the staff and to each in this family's group that these were their loved ones final minutes.
Yet, in spite of their resignation to the fact, there remain the smallest glimmer of hope. This hope, however slight, became a dam, holding back the flood. I know this because I saw the hope and I saw the eventual flood. It appeared that when hope was extinguished the flood of grief rushed over them. There was no gradual resignation; no slow acceptance; no release by degrees. There was hope; then, there was grief. There were words laced with a flavor of unreasonable expectation; then, there were cries of anguish. It made me think of that hope.
I know nothing of the person in the room. I never saw them. I know nothing of the small family gathered there. I did not linger with my looks. I did not want to intrude upon their hope nor did I want to invade their grief.
I saw enough and heard enough to feel their hope and to feel their grief.
Just that slightest fragment of hope was enough to withstand the destructive force of loss.
I am thankful for my hope. Paul, the Apostle of Jesus Christ, said it was the 'anchor' of the soul.
Hope is the oasis to my spirit when I travel in dry and parching places.
It is the rest to my mind when circumstances and events seek to steal my strength.
It is the dam that keeps the flood waters of despair at bay.
It is the glimmer in the darkness.
It is the path by which we traverse the valleys.
It is the anchor, keeping me from being swept away.
It is my lifeline when I climb the nearly sheer face of the mountain.
At times it is a bright beacon held aloft to light our way.
At other times, it is just the flickering of life remaining in the embers.
but even its weakest flickering chases away the darkness.
It is my security when I have no reason to believe.
It carries and uses words, though words cannot define it.
I can show you what it does, but I cannot tell you what it is.
I can show you where it is, but I cannot tell you what it is.
I can show you the countless works of those that lean on it, but I cannot tell you what is it.
I can show you what it looks like in the face of a survivor, but I cannot tell you what it is.
I can show you the devastation that follows when it is lost, but still, I cannot tell you what it is.
I can point you to the source, but I cannot tell you what it is.
It is everywhere I look and yet it is undefinable.
Regardless of the source of your hope, it is still the anchor. Regardless of your faith or belief, that hope is still your anchor.