Such a small word to hold so much emotion, so much potential.  Looking for the best, anticipating the positive, believing in the goodness of others and that righteousness will win this time - hope.

I wonder how much time we spend hoping.  In those life-changing circumstances, hope turns into prayers and desperate petitions to the Almighty.  We must have been created to hope, as even the most cynical of sorts have hopes and dreams of love, laughter and good life.

I certainly know how it feels to come dangerously close to losing all hope.  A dark place, that is.  During those times of languishing in the pit, so to speak, I imagined my hope as a single flame, a small flickering candle.  One more shift in the current and it would go out, leaving a suffocating darkness.  I held onto that image in my mind, my little flickering candle that was so close to going out; it was the last of my hope.  You cannot fan the flame of a candle, you can only protect it, cupping it with your hand against the buffeting breeze.  You can try to hold it close to your body in an effort to provide shelter, while begging for the circumstances around you to calm enough for the flame to gain strength.  This I did.

Alone in the dark, I sat with what was left of my hope.  For it is a sad fact that there is no where to go and nothing to do when hope runs out.

Suddenly, a hand reached down, into that dark pit, offering what I could not produce myself.  Hold onto your candle, a voice said, and grab my hand.  I'll put my flame next to yours - together we can share our hope and we will both be strengthened.  Don't give up...don't think the flame is going out.  I am here and I have hope when you do not. 

Hope.  Hope that somehow it's all going to work out in the end.  Hope that we will all chose to do the right thing, that justice will be served and healing will come.  Hope that darkness will not win...not this time.  Hope that together our little flames can join creating a bright, strong light, like the many wicks of the havdalah candle, lighting the way.

Yes.  Hope.

Now may the G-d of hope fill you
with all joy and peace in believing,
so that you will abound in hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

Surely my soul remembers
And is bowed down within me.
This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
Lamentations 3:20 - 22

And now, Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is in You.
Deliver me from all my transgressions;
Make me not the reproach of the foolish.
Psalm 39:6-8

They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
"The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
"Therefore I have hope in Him."
The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him.
Lamentations 3:23-25