This too shall pass.
Faith may be a gift more than a choice, but we can always choose hopefulness.
Submit your personal story or favorite illustration, quote, Bible verse, etc. that illustrates a specific virtue to [email protected], then click on the virtue of your choice on the Virtues page to see your story or the stories and illustrations of others.
July 3, 2021
Hope would not be the virtue that it is if it led us to quick closure and we did not have to “wait for it with patience” (Romans 8:24-25).
May 23, 2022
“Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something is worth doing no matter how it turns out.” –Vaclav Havel
July 16, 2021:
Author’s note: I love the following story that illustrates “hopefulness” and have re-told it many times. Other virtues also come to mind through this story; Perspective, Contentment, Equanimity, Sense of Wonder, Simplicity…
There is a story about twin boys about five or six years old. Worried that the boys had developed extreme personalities — one was a total pessimist, the other a total optimist — their parents took them to a psychiatrist.
First the psychiatrist treated the pessimist. Trying to brighten his outlook, the psychiatrist took him to a room piled to the ceiling with brand-new toys. But instead of yelping with delight, the little boy burst into tears. “What’s the matter?” the psychiatrist asked, baffled. “Don’t you want to play with any of the toys?” “Yes,” the little boy bawled, “but if I did I’d only break them.”
Next the psychiatrist treated the optimist. Trying to dampen his outlook, the psychiatrist took him to a room piled to the ceiling with horse manure. But instead of wrinkling his nose in disgust, the optimist emitted just the yelp of delight the psychiatrist had been hoping to hear from his brother, the pessimist. Then he clambered to the top of the pile, dropped to his knees, and began gleefully digging out scoop after scoop with his bare hands. “What do you think you’re doing?” the psychiatrist asked, just as baffled by the optimist as he had been by the pessimist. “With all this manure,” the little boy replied, beaming, “there must be a pony in here somewhere!”
March 22, 2022
Swimming Rats and the Power of Hope
A few weeks ago, I learned about a(n infamous) study done back in 1957 by Dr. Curt Richter. In it, he and his team did experiments on rats. They found that if the water temperature wasn’t too hot or too cold, domesticated Norwegian rats were able to swim around 40-60 hours on average. But when they put wild Norwegian rats into the exact same situation, they would would die within 15 minutes. They were the same breed of rat; the only difference was one group was domesticated and the other was not.
The disparity of results for the two groups was significant, and so they tried to track down what may have contributed to it. In further experiments, they found that if they put the wild rats into the water, and then pulled them out after a few minutes — and then repeated this a few times before the final testing — the rats would end up lasting about the same length of time as the domesticated group when the final test was run.
Why did these few additional immersions in the water increase the endurance of these rats from 15 minutes to dozens of hours? The team postulated that the deaths were more psychological than physiological; that the real issue was one of hopelessness.
The wild rats were not used to being confined, so as soon as they were thrown into this new environment, one which seemed impossible to escape, they simply gave up. But if they had already been exposed to this same environment, and had then been removed, they knew that there was a chance the researchers could take them out of the water at any moment. It was no longer entirely hopeless, and they ended up lasting way longer than they would otherwise.
Putting the ethics of the study aside for a moment, these findings highlight the role hope can play in our lives. Being in a state of hopelessness can strip us of our energy and motivation to continue. But finding hope can provide the strength to endure far longer than we may have expected.
Difficult times are, by definition, difficult. But they’re nothing compared to the weight of hopelessness. Which means that giving the gift of hope to someone who needs it may be one of the most valuable gifts we could ever give.
Submitted by Glenn Lockwood (thanks Glenn!)