“ … it has a unique meaning for each of us.  It can’t be prescribed.  It can’t be injected … it’s hard to define.  It’s easier to tell a story about it.”

Jevne, The Voice of hope: Heard across the heart of life, p. 8, 1994

Sometimes it can feel as though life is stretching us to ‘be’ in a new way.  Finding oneself in a new landscape with unfamiliar terrain can be difficult to navigate because new ways of seeing, new ways of understanding, are required.  We suddenly feel uncertain and unsure because the usual landmarks don’t exist anymore, and we feel a little lost as a result.

Life often presents us with challenges which we feel we simply cannot bear, and sometimes they can seem overwhelming, and staying the course can seem just too hard.

But it has to be hard, otherwise we wouldn’t grow.  We all have something within us that can grow, and it is ‘life’ that demands this of us, that wants this not for itself, but for us as individuals.  It is in our trials and tribulations, in whatever form they take, that the fashioning of our soul takes place.  It is here, within, that we are humanised and taught about ourselves and about life; the greatest teacher of all.  Many years ago a wise man I once knew told me that life was the greatest university; his words have proven true.  I hold several degrees and a doctorate, am qualified as a Social Scientist, but it has always been ‘life’ which has been my greatest teacher.

What is hope in the maelstrom of life?  How does it help us to navigate unfamiliar landscapes birthed by the vicissitudes of life?  In reflecting on hope in the sense that it has a unique meaning for all of us, what is it that I hope for; the desire for travail to pass, or the strength to endure it?



Michele T Knight Written by:

Dr Michele Knight is a Social Worker, Social Scientist, researcher and independent scholar. Her interest and research in the end-of-life has its origin in the lived experiences of her own bereavements, her near-death and shared-death events, the returning deceased and attitudinal responses to those experiences. Since 2006, she has been extensively involved in community development, support and advocacy in both a professional and community services/voluntary capacity in the areas of bereavement and grief, hospital pastoral care, and academic lecturing/tutoring. Her PhD, Ways of Being: The alchemy of bereavement and communique, explores the lived experience of bereavement, grief, spirituality and unsought encounters with the returning deceased.

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