“Wishing is fantasy that everything is going to turn our OK. Hoping is actually showing up for the hard work.”
The Importance Of Hope
From The Official Blog of Thomas Mitchinson, Illinois Committee on Publication
“Everything that is done in the world is done by hope”, Martin Luther once said. If that is true, does it include our well-being. Does hope have an effect on our health.
Yes, according to a recent report by CNN. In his book, The Anatomy of Hope, Jerome Groopman discusses the well-documented research of the positive physiological effects of hope. He writes, “Researchers are learning that a change in mind-set has the power to alter neurochemistry. Belief and expectation – the key elements of hope can block pain by releasing the brain’s endorphins and enkephalins, mimicking the effects of morphine. In some cases, hope can also have important effects on fundamental physiological processes like respiration, circulation and motor function.”
Duane Bidwell, an associate professor of practical theology at Claremont School of Theology in California has identified five main pathways to health. They include:
- Maintaining identity by continuing to participate in activities that help patients retain a sense of self outside diagnosis and treatment.
- Claiming power by taking an active role in treatment by setting goals, self-advocating, monitoring and maintaining one’s own health.
- Attending to spirituality, activated through religious, spiritual and other contemplative practices.
Both researchers feel there is a thin line between hope and denial, and that line is an unwavering commitment to truth and reality.
Bidwell emphasizes that hope is not about positive thinking.
Shane Lopez, author of the book, Making Hope Happen, comments that “there is a profound difference between hoping and wishing”, according to CNN, “wishing encourages passivity, whereas hope represents an active stance.”
Lopez states, “Wishing is fantasy that everything is going to turn our OK. Hoping is actually showing up for the hard work.”
For students of Christian Science, the hard work of hope is prayer. It means looking beyond one’s fear of sickness and conquering that fear with an assurance of God’s love and power. This results in wellness. The importance of hope is illustrated in the words of the founder of this system of healing, Mary Baker Eddy, “As human thought changes from one stage to another of conscious pain and painlessness, from sorrow and joy, – from fear to hope and from faith to understanding, – the visible manifestation will at last be man governed by Soul, not by material sense” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 125).
As a Christian Science healer, I have seen the benefits of hope, and how it opens thought to a spiritual understanding of God which heals disease.
Hope – it is an important aspect in treating disease – both for the physician and the metaphysician.