November 2

The Light of Hope

November 2, 2016

Personal Growth

I spent a long day with Wayne. From the beginning, it was obvious that he’d experienced little love or happiness in all his life.

I described an account I had read of a man who’d been imprisoned for 26 years. Evidence was discovered that proved he was innocent, so he was freed. “You are in a prison like that now,” I said to Wayne. “For all thirty-five years of your life, you’ve been in a prison you did not build, for crimes you did not commit, and the pain has been unbearable. Today you have an opportunity to be released. If that is true—if it’s true that you can walk through the prison doors a free man—how would you feel?”

For the first time I can ever remember, this man answered, “Indifferent,” and—tragically—I understood what he meant. He had been unhappy for so long that he simply did not believe there was anything better on the outside of the prison than what he’d known on the inside. Why should he believe? He’d never seen unconditional love or happiness, so why should his release stir up any hope within him?

We continued to talk the rest of the day, as I loved and taught him. By the end of the day, he had a smile on his face that he never would have thought possible. He was excited to leave his prison behind. He had FELT the love and joy that ignite hope in the soul. He believed that the rest of his life COULD be different. And it has been, because he has followed that feeling and has committed himself to do whatever it takes to preserve it.

Such is the power of hope. As we love and teach people we can light the flames of hope and change the lives of those around us. And we enjoy the privilege of seeing these flames fanned into a fire that will light the way for many others for the rest of their lives.

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