|Spring Into HOPE By Helping Others
Hope is always about trust, openness, purpose, a sense of belonging and being. Hope can add a level of life vitality unlike anything. When we learn the power of helping others we find a joy like nothing else can provide.
Dr. Keltner, a professor at U.C. Berkeley, writes, “We are biologically equipped to empathize, give-care and importantly, experience pleasure when providing support.” Dr. Simon-Thomas further reports, “The Vagus Nerve helps us transcend self-focus to affiliate and connect, while brain pathways that release in oxytocin and dopamine build trust and affection and reinforce the desire to relieve other people’s pain and suffering. We have parts of our brain and nervous system that are linked to dopamine and oxytocin circuits that are activated when we give and serve. So when we give hope to others… We derive very deep pleasure—pleasure that is as strong as when we receive hope, ourselves.”
Emerson may have said it best: “It is one of the beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely help another without helping himself.” What Emerson knew in his heart nearly 200 years ago we now know to be scientific fact. The evidence is clear: We really do help ourselves by helping others. We really do hope by giving hope.
By all these things, I have shown you that by working in this way we must help the weak, and remember the words of the Lord Jesus that he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” Acts 20:35
This past week we celebrate fifty years of Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a dream speech.” Anyone who has seen or heard this heartfelt speech cannot help but come away feeling moved, inspired, and uplifted. Half a century has passed since Dr. King delivered his 17-minute call for civil rights. Many have rightly included it among the greatest speeches of the 20th century. This man knew the power of providing hope to others.
True hope is never passive; It is always ready for “Spring-Time.” The philosopher Gabriel Marcel referred to the “active waiting” that is sometimes required as part of the work of hope.
Hope as a Healing Agent
Hope has been touted as “the best medicine.” Dr. Norman Cousins commented “the patient’s hopes are the physician’s secret weapon. They are the hidden ingredients in any prescription. When we cannot access that hope we can become depressed and even at times physically ill.”
Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12 Add to this the healing potential of Spring that is undeniable, from effecting the remission of Seasonal Affective Disorder to the increased production of Vitamin D.
Spring calls us back to nature, fills our sails with warmer winds, and lifts our spirits. Perhaps this is what prompted Bern Williams to offer one of most succinct reflections on hope and spring: “The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring.”
Spring and hope are intertwined in the mind, body, and soul. In Spring, nature interacts with biology and psychology to spark the basic needs that underlie hope: connection, survival, and spiritual awakening. It is true that hope does not melt away in the summer; but no other season of the year can match the overflow of hope that meets us in Spring.
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13