I'd been physically, mentally, verbally and financially abused; beaten down, controlled, and threatened. My shoulders bowed from the weight of the anguish and lack of hope. Promises of being hunted and killed rang through the air on a regular basis. But one particular evening gave me strength to make a plan, and one friend took time to plant a seed of hope. The next day I put my two small children in that friend's truck, threw a few garbage bags of our clothes and toys in the back, and left my ex-husband. That choice led us 2000 miles from home followed by three long terrifying years of hiding.
Years later I don't recognize my reflection in the mirror. I am not that woman any longer. However, if my friend hadn't taken the time to plant that seed of hope I'd be dead.
Today I work at a staffing agency in Portland, Oregon. I have watched the economy tank, and begin creeping upwards again. A job applicant called me the other day. He asked questions concerning open positions; did we have work for him? Could I take a brief moment to call him back? He just needed hope. I returned the phone call. I see this daily in my line of work, people hurting, and hope fading. At times I am able to restore it.
Hope inspires dreams, belief in our selves, and belief in others. Hope gives us energy, lightness inside. We pass it to someone without realizing it's contagious through a smile, a kind deed, opening a door for someone, or taking time to listen. I don't believe that we truly understand how we are capable of affecting another person.
We have all known someone affected by depression or experiencing a difficult life situation. My challenge to you is to consider these things: how long does it really take to speak a kind word to someone, buy someone coffee, listen to a friend's problem? It's impossible to know what lives people lead behind closed doors, what they are thinking, how they are feeling behind that smile. Just remember what you say or do might save a life.