“Hope is not deceptive” – Romans 5:5
My state of unemployment is a perfect opportunity to harness that inbuilt capacity to be hopeful. I finished a 6 month contract last Friday as a civil servant and what a fruitful time it had been. It was the first major “normal” test for me since being diagnosed with bipolar.
I worked full days: kept to deadlines; adapted to the needs of colleagues; and fit the role of a normal employee. Reasonable accommodations were provided for me, for example, time off for medical appointments and additional short breaks to regulate my stress levels. After a while, my disability essentially disappeared as reflected by a comment from my manager: “To be honest, Gavin, your disability was not an issue”.
I felt overwhelmed with well wishers – my tea break ‘girls’ gifted me with a card and chocolates; my close colleagues presented me with a generous bookstore voucher; and I was brought out for lunch by two senior civil servants. I left with plenty of contacts and the most satisfying thing was passing my work onto a shared database – a brief reminder of my humble legacy.
After a weekend of taking it all in, I returned to job searching on Monday with a clarity of purpose – to find a job aligned to my career interest in contemplative psychology. I became hopeful as a number of organisations responded to me and I also explored further training and volunteering.
I began reading Gerald May’s Will and Spirit, and the following phrase struck me: “willfulness simply cannot speak to our need for meaning”. It got me thinking as I wondered if my career interest was a result of willfulness or willingness. I concluded that I want to tune into a spirit whose possibilities are a lot more expansive than my own. I am a bit perplexed by my future but I say ‘Yes’ with my hands open. I want a spirit to breathe in me, so that I may work every minute and every day in order to serve and praise, in all that I say and do. Surely this is a reason to be hopeful!
Rich in hope
During meditation, I pondered being rich in hope. A hopeful person is a rich person because there is a constant wealth that moves you, that guides you, that inspires you. Sure, hope can diminish at times, for example when I am low. But I always seem to find a reason to keep my chin up. I hope that my hope may rub off others who need it, and that I may draw hope from others.