Hope is such a complex feeling and belief. Per Merriam-Webster dictionary, hope as a verb means the want of something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true. Hope as a noun is the the chance that something good will happen and/or someone or something that may be able to provide help. As the month comes to an end, two wonderful human beings have inspired me this week to help figure out this complicated and intricate concept of hope.
The late President of South Africa Nelson Mandela, an anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician and philanthropist said, “Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.”
I believe the Greek Mythology, Pandora’s Box explains Nelson Mandela’s statement very well. Pandora was the first woman on earth who was extremely privileged and was endowed with many gifts from the Greek Gods. As a wedding gift, Zeus gave Pandora a beautiful jar (we think it is was box, but it wasn’t) with instructions to never open the jar under any circumstances. Of course, as humans we always want to do what is restricted and therefore Pandora opened her jar. The consequences of her actions caused all the evil from the jar to be released on earth. Pandora did try to close the jar but was unsuccessful. Disheartened she hears a small voice from the jar, fearfully she looks inside to find a small fairy like spirit named Elpis. Elpis consoles Pandora that upon her release into the world the suffering inflicted by the evils will be lessened in the expectation that she will bring forth. Pandora was astonished as she had seen the huge forms and wickedness of the evils. In comparison, Elpis had a small stature and was demure. Pandora thought how can this sweet being combat these evils? However, Elpis assures Pandora not to be fooled by her size because it is through compassion and suffering that she will grow strong. With these last wise words, Elpis departs into the world to do her best to fight evil.
As we reflect back on history and the struggles of human beings through the ages, we see this principle of hope. Situations and circumstances can seem so bleak and detrimental but as a race we move forward through love, compassion and understanding to advance in the face of difficulty and rise above that oppression. It is vitally important to remember that we might be entering the tunnel of darkness but there is that glimmer of light at the end. That truly is HOPE and it stems from hardships but makes you courageous and fearless.
This second enlightened individual then added to the concept further. He is the late leader of the African-American Civil Rights Movement Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who was an American Baptist Minister, an activist and a humanitarian. He has stated that,”We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
That is the beauty of this emotion. While facing a situation we might fail and it might take a long time to attain success, however, as long as all of us, as individuals have HOPE, we will get to the “promise land.” I am not saying that it is easy, it is a difficult road paved with potholes, boulders, thorns and barricades. However, potholes can be repaired with education and awareness; boulders can be removed with team work and patience; thorns can be picked out with compassion and love while barricades can be broken down with understanding and actions.
Taking into account human suffering, compassion, kindness and hope, on every February 28th for the past eight years, EURORDIS in partnership with 84 countries (Canada was one of the first members!) marks the observance of International Rare Disease Day. There are approximately 6,000 rare diseases for which there are no proper cures and millions of individuals around the world are affected. However, by planning and participating in awareness raising activities across the globe these partners have the hope for success with the slogan “Day-by Day, Hand-in-Hand.”
So, regardless of how small that hope maybe, it is our responsibility as a race to keep it alive and burning. Every individual is really that powerful and can inspire many others. Lets make the pledge to ourselves and others that we will never lose hope as it is our only saviour.
Author: Anjali Chudasama