“Hope” by Heather Keith Freeman
8″x10″, pen and ink on watercolor paper
Image description: A young white girl with long, straight blue hair extends a hand holding a small sphere of light towards the viewer. Behind her, a bifurcated background; dark green and brown on the right, gold and yellow on the left.
When all the world is turmoil and doubt, when the despair taints everything we touch and chance thoughts release tears and collapse the fragile scaffolding shielding our bruised souls from a brutal world -
Even then, we can choose. We can choose to turn back to the darkness, stifling in its weight but comforting in its familiarity, or we can choose to take the light offered to us by Hope.
Sometimes the light is too much, it burns our tender skin and rips scabs off of wounds not healed enough to bear the open air – but even then, just to know it is there may be enough to keep the dark from swallowing us whole.
The myth of Pandora has two versions. In one, she opens the box and all the monsters escape to plague humanity, but the bright butterfly of Hope follows them to keep humanity from utter despair. In another, she closes the box just in time to trap Hope inside.
The two versions illustrate our choice, even in the blackest moments. This is not the “just snap out of it” choice offered to us by disinterested professionals and well-meaning but clueless friends. This is the choice that is the fundamental essence of free will, holding the awareness of a different path even if we are not yet ready to set foot upon it. Maybe the spark of Hope is too blinding to reach for, too strange to comprehend, but even now we can remember she exists. And she will always, always be there, to offer us the light and take our hands, as gently as we need, and to tell us it’s going to be okay.
It’s going to be okay.