When You Feel Hopeless

“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well (Julian of Norwich).”

We were out on our boat this weekend surrounded by rain storms. It was dark and furious. We didn’t know whether we should make a run for the marina or wait it out. We decided to wait it out and wade to shore on the little uninhabited island if the lightning got bad. The storm was headed right for us, but it never made it to us. It came from the east and split to the north and south of us heading west. We had no more than a few drops of rain and got front row seats to a beautiful storm.

You see, we simply can’t predict how things are going to be. We imagine our future, but it is always only imagined. We cannot possibly know how something will unfold, even when the storm looks like it is headed straight for us. We were certain that we were going to get the full fury of the storm but what seemed certain to us never came to pass.

Watching the storm, I thought of all the folks who are worried about their future, who see dark clouds bearing down upon them, who are living in the feeling of an imagined future. Living the fear again and again. Despairing. Hopeless. My heart breaks. I understand.

It has been a devastating, and, for many, frightening time here in the USA these past couple of weeks, regardless of which side of the political divide one finds oneself. Fear, ridicule, desperation, confusion, hopelessness, and divisiveness have sunk into our very soul, it seems. Many are afraid of what the future may bring. It’s tempting to believe that the brewing storm will consume us.

I’m reminded of the Chinese parable about a farmer and his son. This is how I remember the story: The farmer owned a beautiful stallion who helped earn money for the family. One day, the stallion ran away. The villagers said, “What terrible luck to lose your prized horse!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.” After a time, the stallion returned with a herd of mares. The villagers said, “What wonderful luck to have all those mares!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.” The farmer’s son began to train the mares. He was thrown from one of them and broke his leg. The villagers cried, “What terrible luck!” The farmer said, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.” A few days later, soldiers came through town recruiting all the able-bodied boys for war. The farmer’s boy was not recruited because of his broken leg. The villagers exclaimed, “What great luck! Your boy is spared!” To which the farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not, we’ll see.”

Maybe so. Maybe not. We’ll see.

I began this blog with words from Julian of Norwich, a Christian mystic. “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” She wrote these words after losing almost everyone she loved to plague and almost dying herself. She was quite young, yet she discovered the truth of her words. She knew that many storms never reach us, and even when they do, we are resilient and resourceful.

We are resilient and resourceful. “We are created for the reality of this moment (Jamie Smart).”

To those of you who are frightened, discouraged, hopeless, hurt, and angry, I see you. I love you. I leave you with these words from John Lennon, “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”


If this blog post resonates with you or if you’d like to explore a new perspective on overcoming hopelessness, I’m opening up a couple of times on my calendar this week for the first two people who respond, at no cost to you. Contact Me