Monday, February 17, 2014

Hope: The Last to Die

Sometime last week I received in the mail a complimentary copy of Indie Spiritualist: A No Bullshit Exploration of Spirituality. I've been spending a bit of time every evening watching the Winter Olympics, but I still have to have a book in my hands, and this seemed like a good choice.

The work of Chris Grosso, the book starts like this:

"Hope, it's the last to die," said an elderly man sitting across from me some years ago on a bus in Rome at 2:00 AM. He'd just read the word hope tattooed across my knuckles, and I have to say that, in my own personal life experience, man, was he right. Life is full of terror and beauteous rapture, and I've experienced both on numerous occasions. From a life filled with despair, jail, emergency rooms, detoxes, and rehabs, to one of hope.

C. B. Cote, Beyond (8)
Hope . . . I remember telling a therapist many years ago that I had a lot of hope and a good amount of faith, but I struggled with love. I've always been very hopeful . . . an optimist, a dreamer, focused always on what is possible, fully convinced that good will always overcome evil and light will always pierce the darkness. During the very lowest point of my life, when I found myself gripped by the emotional and physical pain of depression, I still had hope; the darkness was thick and dense, but I could sense a tiny, dim light. Eventually the light grew stronger and I was restored to full life. From my experience, I have to agree—hope is the last to die, perhaps because without hope, we would die.

In this way, hope is like art. Without it, we have nothing. It occurs to me that art may actually be a physical manifestation of hope, and hope, I now realize, is what I manifest every time I work as an artist; hope, I now realize, is what I feel every time I connect with art. Art centers us, holds us in the moment, and in that moment, with everything else have fallen away, we experience hope.  

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