“True skill is built when you push yourself just past the place you think you can go.
Perseverance prevails in defiance of what we think is possible.
In other words, amaze yourself. Keep going. Don’t quit.
And what’s the challenge for today? Write about hope.
Take whatever fears and insecurities you have, your internal questions and doubts, and turn them into words that inspire.
Don’t give up. And don’t let others. The cost is too great. We can’t miss out on what you have to say.”
I know this isn’t exactly what the authors of the 500 Word Challenge had in mind when they talk about hope, but when I think about hope, I think about hitting rock bottom and clawing your way out. People talk about wanting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but for me, it’s more seeing the faint glow from all the way at the bottom of the hole you somehow managed to fall into, either deliberately or accidentally. Hope is what keeps all of us alive, and when you’ve lost hope, whether you are at the end of the line or you’re still young, and you’ve lost hope, it’s a miserable, depressing thing.
You need hope to keep your inner fire burning. You need hope to keep your spark alive. If you lose that, you lose so much more than you ever bargained for. Even when I was in the belly of the beast, I still held onto a candle’s dim flicker of hope. Even when I was in the darkest tunnels of my personal cave, I still held onto the hope that I could claw my way out, and it took many years for me to claw out. I clenched that candle between my teeth at times and begged to keep the flame from sputtering out, but now that I’m on the ground again, I’m looking for the challenges that make me rise from ground-level and start working my way up a hill, so that some day, I can tackle the Mount Everests of my ambitions.
Hope is vital. It’s far more important than anyone gives it credit for because it provides light in a time of a darkness, and that is a beautiful thing. When darkness is all you know, sometimes, a flicker of light glimmering in the distance is all you need to keep trudging ahead.
When I was at my darkest moments, there were hands reaching in to save me, and most hands I ignored, but one hand I couldn’t ignore was my own. It was as though there was me that was in the bottom of this dark, depressing, frightening pit filled with rats and spiders and things that make your skin crawl, and then there was an elevated me who knew that there was light up in this beautiful, brilliant world that needed me in it. So, even at my bleakest, I knew (or rather, I hoped) I had the power within me to change the world. I remember even at my darkest, thinking, “I can’t change the world, but I can change one person one at a time,” and that helped to propel me with the hope to keep rappelling up the pit I somehow fell into.
And now, here I am, on the upward climb, making it up some unknown cliff or hill, I haven’t been able to figure out which, but I keep climbing in hopes of finding my dreams and my ambitions and my happiness. I’m in the process of finding these because my candle never burnt out, my hope never faded.