Despair, Hope & The Human Dilemma
His life was over. Alone in the darkness he knew that better than anyone. There were no candles burning because the pain had become too much for him to bear in any kind of light.
Staying in the dark was a delusional defense mechanism. It fueled the silent voices that swirled inside his head taunting him by highlighting his every desperation.
There was a stack of overdue bills that would never get paid; a long string of broken relationships that would never be repaired; mistakes that were impossible to fix; a lifetime of accumulated broken dreams and empty promises. Failure had crawled up inside and attached itself like a leech bleeding him dry.
Once upon a time the future had been full of possibility, but now it was a stark few moments from its end. The note had been carefully written; the pistol was fully loaded. He lifted the gun to his mouth with determination. He closed his eyes as his heartbeat throbbed in his ears.
“I’m sorry,” he said to no one, to everyone. The blast reverberated in the night as the shock waves of his action echoed through the lives of those who loved him. They had never known the agony of his inner turmoil. Now it was too late.
"Some days I feel like my
shadow's casting me
Some days the sun
Sometimes I wonder what
tomorrow's gonna bring
When I think about my
dirty life and times."
Have you ever experienced a sense of hopelessness?
The above story is fictional, but tragic scenes like this play themselves out all too routinely. Even a casual appraisal of society brings a stunning revelation: Many people are mired in a quagmire of hopelessness. Sinking deeper and deeper into the pit, they fervently grasp at anything to hold onto as a lifeline.
In their desire for deliverance they clutch at astrology, psychic hotlines, gambling, promiscuous sex, alcohol and drugs. Lack of hope causes people to chase after an endless multitude of deceptive practices and philosophies that guarantee much but deliver nothing as they spiral downward.
No one is immune. This is not an us and them deal; the potential to be ensnared in hopelessness is at the core of our common humanity. A sewer pipe of hopelessness runs just below the surface of our carefully constructed lives. We may be able to be insulated from its stench with material comforts for a time, but sooner or later the pipe will spring a leak and toxic despair will seep into every corner of our lives.
Masks & A Nutshell
Dressed in its different disguises, lack of hope always creates the same painfully naked result: Hopelessness breeds desperation and despair; desperation and despair gives birth to alienation and isolation until at the bottom of the pit, suicide becomes an option. But suicide is never the answer because death is not the end.
We struggle through our days endeavoring to attain a sense of purpose and meaning in the endless monotony and minutiae that is life. Our time is poured into the quest to succeed and however success is defined, achieving it uses us up.
The result is a vast array of feelings, with no assurance of peace of mind. At the top of the heap, many have determined that their ladder has been propped up against the wrong building.
In quiet moments of reflection we seek answers to timeless existential questions that have occupied the greatest intellects and poets the world has ever seen, but come away disappointed.
Stripped of the hypothetical or romantic, we discover the collective reasoning has a startling conclusion: Hopelessness is the human dilemma in a nutshell. It is hardwired into our makeup. Within ourselves we have no capacity to deal with the vagaries of life and death.
No Magic Pill
It is in our spiritual dimension that we find hope. In his wisdom, God interjected himself into the mix of humanity in the person of Jesus Christ to offer us the opportunity to be rescued from the bog of hopelessness.
The Psalmist wrote: “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”
Our journey to the solid rock of hope is found in relationship with God. The choice is ours to make. God has already paid for this privileged rite of passage. The cross of Calvary is the lifeline that bridges the gap between despair and hope. There is no secret mystery, no magic pill to take.
Our relationship with God begins when we exercise faith, which helps us comprehend that we are delivered from our sinful past by Christ’s death. Hope blossoms as we discover all that God has in mind for us; we are empowered by the never-ending hope of redemption and resurrection.
It is simple faith in God through Jesus Christ. In some circles this is viewed as fantasy or a cliché to be attacked with a vitriol that can be disarming.
Which is okay because sooner or later the travails of our common humanity catches up with everyone; it is not unusual for the hardest skeptic or most vociferous agnostic to soften or become subdued when death or disease comes knocking close to home.
At the point of our helplessness, we learn that God’s love transcends human desperation. The miracle of rebirth awaits each of us because in everlasting love God became one of us to rescue us from our hopeless condition.
The cross of Calvary is the final solution to the human dilemma.
- Wanted Man
Wanted Man a.k.a. Ken R. Abell, seeks to be a blessing to others. He's a rake, a rambler, and a teller of tales who understands that there is strength in a story well told and well lived. To learn more, inquire or schedule him, visit this web site.
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