The Colour of Hope
Hope is their lifeline. This story, complied from the experiences of many spinal cord-injured patients, connects us with their hearts. Who is there to offer hope?
by Julie Desjardins
Throughout history hope and suffering have been explored within religious and philosophical schools of thought by many great minds. The inherent danger in such discussion, however, is that these concepts remain hidden within the halls of academia, powerless to inform those who seek to ease suffering and instil hope.
The idea for this story came to me when I was reading about hope and suffering of men and women with spinal cord injuries. Their words seared my mind and squeezed my heart. I wanted to pull it all together somehow. Then I came across a quote from a young woman who said, “The colour of hope is light blue.” As soon as I read that, I knew I had my story. I wanted my readers first of all to connect as I had to these people’s hearts, and not just to their heads, and secondly to understand the hope and suffering that spinal cord injured patients live with everyday. Because this story needed to represent their experiences authentically and accurately, I quoted people with spinal cord injuries who had been interviewed for a qualitative study in Norway on hope and suffering.
“The Colour of Hope” represents the voices of many people – men and women of differing ages and with differing degrees and levels of spinal cord injury. This is their story told from the perspective of someone who does not really know God. She does not believe that God – if He even exists – cares about her as she struggles to find hope in the midst of suffering and perceived hopelessness.
Even for us as Christians there are times when our prayers are not answered. We may pray for protection for our children, but one of them is seriously injured in a car crash; we may pray that a spouse will be healed from cancer, but he dies; we tithe faithfully and volunteer in the community, but are plagued by financial difficulties. What do we do with this apparent contradiction?
Whether we are Christians or not, how we live and struggle through our suffering impacts our relationship with a holy and loving God, and shapes how we respond and relate to the suffering of others. As Christians, it challenges us to extend ourselves beyond conventional church wisdom and empty platitudes; to cry out together for God – our ultimate source of hope and refuge. Consequently, we are better prepared to share hope in the midst of another's suffering – to help them walk by faith and not by sight.