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Today is the final day of National Suicide Prevention Week, and today's topic is hope.  So I asked my friends, fellow authors, what is hope?  What gives you hope?  What are your thoughts on hope? 
Here are our answers. Some are fun, some are sad, some are deep, but the thing that struck me the most was how similiar our words are.
How within all of us there is a spark of recognition for this thing called Hope.
   " I am pretty good with words.  I'd say it is the only thing I'm good at.  Millions upon Trillions of words and very few carry the weight of Hope.
Hope (a verb): to expect with confidence, trust
    To expect with confidence. To believe within your heart.
And we hope for so much.
Good grades, good partners, to be accepted, to be loved.
We hope for good fortune, we hope other's get what they want. 
Sometimes we even hope they get what they deserve.
    Sometimes we hope beyond reason.
That the person we miss will transcend time and distance, just so we may hold them again. 
We hope to go back.  To change that one thing...that changed everything.
We hope for so much. Even in the darkness.
    When you're depressed you hope someone will notice. You hope they will gather up the shards of you and glue you back together, like a fine vase.
    You hope they'll notice you've stopped eating, or that common sense would dictate that cats don't scratch in perfect razored lines.
    Today is a day of hope, but personally I think it should also be a day of belief.
Belief that the weight of the world you carry will ease with time.
Belief that there are people out there right now, all over the globe, who understand your pain.
    Belief that the ache in your heart.  The heart you feel is deadened, is really an ache to LIVE.
    It's not easy.  If it were, there wouldn't be so many of us. So here is the advice you didn't ask for.

BREATHE. Fill your lungs with air and then do it again.
Give what you don't get.  Be it love, attention, a listening ear, or a hand to hold.
Sit down, write your story.
Take a moment to realize all you've survived.
And the thing survivors should know is that they have been victorious once.
You can be again.
Believe in asking for help. It doesn't make you weak, it makes you smart.
If one person, two people, a whole town dismisses you.
And if you feel adrift in an endless ocean.
Keep asking. Scream it if you must.
Don't you dare stop until you've reached the safety of the harbor.
Once you do, you'll breathe without thinking.
You'll love without hesitation.
But once you find your harbor, I hope you won't stay too long.
Because there are people out there who need to hear your story, as only you can tell it.
Thousands of others still lost at sea. 
Pass your hope to them like messages in bottles.
And in doing so, you'll forge a bond stronger than you'd ever dared hope for to begin with."
~With Love Always. Jessica Fortunato (Author of The Sin Collector Series)

"Emily Dickinson once wrote that “Hope is the thing with feathers/ that perches in the soul.” 
She knew what she was talking about.  Hope is often hidden, buried deep
within us, but it has wings.  Remember, you carry Hope within you, even in the darkest places.  No one can take that which is yours, and Hope sits at the core of your being.
Thanks to Pandora, there is always a store of Hope.  It is only one little thing with feathers, and although it may sometimes seem like it’s not enough to combat all the misery and pain and suffering, Hope is stronger than you think.
Trust the small, winged thing at the center of your soul.  Never give up Hope.  Spread your wings and soar."
~Jen McConnel (Author of The Burning of Isobel Key)

    "Hope is, arguably, the most underrated, yet overused,  word in our language. I hope I get that job. I hope we're having pizza  for dinner. I hope he/she likes me. Everywhere one turns, phrases  involving hope are bandied around in casual conversation. 
     Collectively, we sell hope short. We cheapen it with our  selfish, narcissistic application. Hope involves more than the  attainment of some momentary satisfaction or enjoyment. It is much more, even, than leverage within
the elusive, everyday games that people  play.
     Hope is magical stuff. Hope is powerful stuff. It  has the power to save
lives, yes, but it can even save one life. It has  the power to change your world ... my world ... the world. 
     Hope shouldn't be hoped for. It shouldn't be tossed around as conversational filler. It should be seeded and sown, encouraged and  fostered,
shared and spread around and celebrated. Hope should be  provided to those who need it most. Hope should be the last thing that  is neglected or abandoned or forgotten among our busy, everyday lives. 
At least, that's what I hope."
~Thomas Winship (Author of Vaempires Book Series)
“They say that Hope Springs Eternal. But, the truth is, it really comes in fits and starts, sort of sputtering now and then, bubbling up when least expected.  It’s been my experience that hope isn’t something that comes from outside.  Instead, it’s an idea that we carry inside us. It’s elusive sometimes,  an idea that doesn’t come to the forefront when we call it up, but that seems to enjoy surprising us. When we think we’ve forgotten how to hold the thought of Hope, that’s when it springs out. It jumps forward and  shows us that while we may not know where the dark paths we tread are taking us, we know they are taking us to someplace brighter.
So, when it seems that Hope is gone for good, stick around and give it time.
It will be back when you least expect it.”
~Brandon Luffman (Author of Frostwalker)
    "Hope is what gets us out of bed in the morning. It takes us beyond our doorstep when fear holds us back. Hope  for love let's us pick up the pieces of our broken hearts. Hope is what  keeps us authors writing the next words. 
    After Zeus made the  first woman Pandora, he gave her a box and told her not to open it. Out  of curiosity she did. Out of the box escaped all the evils of the world. No longer could man linger in comfort. He had to toil and suffer  sickness. However, the last thing to escape the box was Hope. So, man  could endure hardship because of hope.
    Because I'm a fan of balance I like the following:
"Hope is itself a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords: but, like all other pleasures  immoderately enjoyed, the excesses of hope must be expiated by pain; and expectations improperly indulged must end in disappointment.
SAMUEL JOHNSON, Letter, Jun. 8, 1762"
~Noree Cosper (Author of Prescription for Delirium and Trip The Eclipse Blog)
    "It’s easy to lose hope. It’s easy to forget how wonderful you are, or what you bring to the table. I think we all push ourselves too hard nowadays—we’re striving to achieve, to be better, to succeed in something before we die. We sometimes lose track of the why. Why bother?
It’s in those spiraling moments that we need a trampoline—something bouncy and a little soft. Sometimes, we’re just not strong enough on our own to remember what makes life so beautiful, or precious, or funny as all hell. So we need some help.
    The trampoline can be a person. It can be the teddy bear no one knows you still have. It can be a solo hike through a forest, or an hour spent looking at adorable pictures of cats. It can be an evening laughing over dinner with a good friend. 
    Trampolines—and the hope that comes with them—are everywhere.
    I’m analytical. So when I’m low, I write a list. It’s just for me. It’s a list of everything I’m good at doing. Things I know I can do well. It ranges from the big to the small, and it’s just for me. I’m not allowed to be modest when I write it, because that can turn into self-deprecation that makes me start to spiral again. 
    But here’s the truth: we’re all amazing at something. A lot of us are amazing at several somethings, and it’s easy to forget. It’s easy to lose hope in ourselves and forget to love who and what we are. And if we can’t love ourselves, we can’t love anyone.
    Treat yourself today, whether you’re low or not. Write a list of everything you can do well, whether you have a sweet laugh or can pick up socks with your toes. You don’t have to be the best in the world at it, but you’re good. Works for me. Write it down. 
    There’s always hope. Sometimes, we just need help remembering where we left it. Hold on tight. You’ll get through the low spots. And love yourself, damn it. You’re awesome."
~S.M. Boyce (Author of the Grimoire Trilogy)
    "When I was in middle school, I cried every Sunday night.  Because the  next day was Monday.  And that meant going back to school.  Endowed with all your typical nerdish features and crippling social anxiety, I was  virtually friendless. In case this wasn't much of a hint, let me clear  it up: life sucked.  I thought I'd be alone forever.  Then I got to high school, where the nerds made up a larger group, where I made  friends.
     I still had zero in the way of a love life, but I wasn't  crying so many Sunday nights.  Cue college.  Suddenly, there were all  sorts of people like me. People who *liked* me.   People who appreciated the quirks that had outcast me in middle school.  That golden age took a downturn, but just when I thought I'd lost it  all, I found again the kind of people who I thought I'd lost forever.   
    I'm not out of the hole yet, but I've learned something.  That ache in  your gut? That scream at the back of your throat?  It doesn't last  forever. It *can't*. Just when you think you can't  feel any worse...you realize that you can't feel any worse.  
And you  start to feel better."
~C.J. Listro (Author of the Sarcasm and Lemons Blog & Dark Moon Series)
    "I have had two experiences with suicide. One was when I took 50 sleeping pills and laid down on my bed. I had packed my entire apartment into boxes, cleaned it, and left notes for everyone that I cared about to apologize for what I had done.
The other was recently, when my brother in law of 17 years took his own life in the bedroom that he and his wife shared. 
    My hope, both times, was in the love of God and Jesus. I know, some Christians don’t show love. You may have been hurt by a church, a religious person, or an another organization. But I will tell you that if you are ever alone, if you ever feel that no one cares, if you ever believe that you don’t matter, if you ever feel that you are broken inside, the Lord says something else about you. He says that you are complete in Him. He says that you are an overcomer. He says that you are able to do all things in Him. He says that you are more than a conquerer...that you are the head and not the tail...first and not last...that you are strong in Him...You can be set free. 
    I never want to beat anyone over the head with Jesus. I just want you to know that He loves you...and that you are special to Him. With Him, there is always hope. I know...He was there for me when I lay on my bed, 50 sleeping pills swimming in my stomach. I looked  at my ceiling not able to believe that I had done it. I had taken my own life. It was inevitable now. Suddenly i was scared to death. I prayed for my first time then. I said, “ God, if you’re real, save me. I don’t want to die.” He saved me. There is always hope in him."
~J. Scott Sharp (Author of Not Even There)

9/14/2012 01:54:24 pm

Inspirational post, Jessica. Thank you so much for putting it together.


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