I have begun reading “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl. The byline on the book reads “The classic tribute to hope from the Holocaust”.
I am not a long way in yet and don’t have any insights from the book at this time but wish to share an observation made by the author in his Preface to the 1992 Edition.
“I do not at all see in the bestseller status of my book an achievement and accomplishment on my part but rather an expression of the misery of our time: if hundreds of thousands of people reach out for a book whose very title promises to deal with the question of a meaning to life, it must be a question that burns under their fingernails”.
When Frankl originally wrote his book it was not long after his repatriation from a concentration camp. He wrote it anonymously at first as he wished to offer his observations on maintaining hope in the face of utter hopelessness as a testament to what he had learned during his years of suffering.
Little has changed since that time.
Many in this world are still seeking hope as the world steadily becomes crazier and crazier and descends into madness.
In this age of instant gratification and the speed in which news is delivered to the world, it is no surprise that people are suffering from mental illnesses such as anxiety, stress and depression leaving many to see that the only way out is to give up and end their own struggles.
Just today, I have read news headlines such as “Woman beaten to death in home”, “Rapper identified as executioner”, “Armed trio behind spate of holdups” or “Droughts are world’s costliest disasters” – and that’s just in the Australian newspapers. I could harness any number of world newspapers just by searching Google.
When we are bombarded day by day with news of wars, rapes, famines, epidemics, natural disasters, murder and corruption is it any wonder, that we reach out for hope?
There is much to be said about becoming ‘unplugged’ and allowing ourselves to just ‘be’ and spending time in conversation with others or reading books, or sitting in the sun, or listening to the sounds of the world around us. There is much to be said about being still. It is in doing these things that we find peace – and hope.
When I was a teen, I wrote a poem that is just as relevant to me today as it was back then.
So I look around at the world
with it’s hustle and bustle
screaming and riots
wars and death
life and computers
then I wonder –
Where do I fit in?
I am but a speck of dust in this cosmic mess we call life.
However, I am a speck of dust with hope.
Because without hope, we are lost.
A friend of mine recently wrote a blog post in which she stated that depression comes from lack of hope and fear that things will not get better. She is right. Depression is certainly a side effect of fear and lack of hope. Unfortunately it compounds these feelings and magnifies them as well. We need to learn to rediscover hope for the future.
I think it was Dolly Parton that spoke the following words:
I believe that hope is the expectation that the rainbow is going to come out after the rain. Depression will tell you that you are in a tropical low rain ‘depression’ right now and that the rain will just keep on coming until it floods and causes havoc. Depression will tell you that there is no such thing as a rainbow.
Depression is a big fat liar.
Our world is filled with beauty. It is filled with hope.
My prayer is that those suffering right now, take the time each day to look for just one thing that is beautiful in their world.
It could be the butterfly outside your window.
It could the wind on your face.
It may even be the sound of the rain on your roof.
Within beauty lies hope.
And when we have hope, then we can fight another day.