Borrowing HopeDate: December 10, 2016 By: Fe Anam Avis
The other day I heard a story about a chemotherapy regimen called “EPOH” that was being studied in a research protocol for efficacy. Most of the study centers were reporting consistent results- some benefit from the chemotherapy, but nothing earth-shattering. But one study center was getting dramatically better results, so the research team investigated. What were they doing differently?
Turns out the doctor in the center with better results had renamed the chemotherapy regimen. Instead of telling his patients they were getting OPEH, he rearranged the letters and dosed them with HOPE.
The medical literature is filled with such stories, but they all boil down to the same thing: in our most desperate moments our own internal reservoir of hope is sometimes not sufficient for our rescue. We must “borrow” hope from something or someone beyond ourselves whether it is the word “HOPE” spelled out on an IV bag dripping into our vein or the earnest words of a loving friend shoring us up with affirmation.
Sometimes we borrow hope from the stories of others. I was interviewed today by a wonderful person writing a book about the effects of kindness. Once again, I told the story of my “encounter” with an angel that was pivotal in my survival. Part of the reason that story is so powerful for people to hear is that they borrow hope from it when their personal hope account is already overdrawn.
Of course, I do the very same borrowing of hope from the stories of others. Perhaps we will spend much of our lives inwardly broke but holding each other’s hope as we borrow from others what we cannot scrape up for ourselves.
Christmas is a season of such wonderful stories of hope. At this time of year when the dark of night is its most relentless, Christmas arrives just in time. We are invited to lay back in our broken and brokenhearted state and let the beauty seep into our veins. Every gift of love, every twinkling light, every thought-silencing carol is a sacrament of the ultimate borrowing from the ultimate source of Hope who will never forsake us.
Trust it. With me.