Living a Life of Hope
So many people live lives filled with negativity, driven by fear, and discouraged by the bleakness of the political landscape and the decline of society in general.
I can understand this – it is so easy to fall into this way of existing. And I use the word existing deliberately – this is not living.
My personal circumstances have often left me fighting negativity and living in fear, sometimes from tangible threats to my life. I also understand the discouragement which comes from the tangible losses we have experienced, where abortion-to-birth legislation was extended to Queensland last year and where, from the 19th of June the Victorian government will begin to issue permits for euthanasia and assisted suicide. The temptation to despair also arises from the restrictions on our religious freedoms, the threats to our freedom to speech if our ideology is not left-leaning, and the constant pressure to conform to the socialist agenda.
Living a hope-filled, hope-inspired and hope-driven life does not necessarily come naturally given such circumstances – but it can be a deliberate choice we make.
I’ve often been asked how I keep smiling despite whatever is happening around me – and the answer is simple: hope. Hope that things will get better. Hope that contains ambition, aspiration, and preparation. Hope that contains confident expectation and a belief that change is possible. Hope that does not sit passively on the side lines, pining for better days.
The introduction of the Heartbeat Bill in Ohio, which will ban abortion after the baby’s heart starts to beat at 6 weeks gestation, gives cause for the type of hope I hold on to. A less known fact is that in Ohio, over thirty restrictions have been passed since abortion was legalised nationally in the US, including the introduction of 24 hour cool-off periods, compulsory ultrasounds prior to abortion, in-person counselling prior to a decision, then in 2011 a ban on abortion after viability.
Ohio began with legislation as extreme as the one we currently have here in Victoria and within a decade they have turned from abortion-to-birth to six weeks gestation. This gives us cause for Hope.
Many around us have given up hope. They despair that change will never come. They run negative campaigns against the latest “issue of the day” with no expectation of change. And so, when no change occurs, their hopelessness is reinforced and the cycle of despair continues.
I can remember confronting one prolife activist once who was verbally abusing people on the street near Parliament House while holding up a provocative anti-abortion sign during the debate against buffer zones in Victoria. I told them that this was not helping us win the argument against the legislation and he said: “I don’t care. You should just give up, like me. You are never going to win anyway. This [abuse and provocation] is all we have left.” I was shocked and dismayed by this attitude. This man was devoid of hope. He had pre-determined that we could not win and he was unconsciously allowing himself to be used as an instrument for the pro-abortion movement at that moment in time. (NB: People inside parliament used him as an example of why the legislation “needed” to pass.)
I have often reflected on this incident and thought how we must hold on to hope at all costs. We must be inspired by it, driven by it, and filled with it – deliberately – if we are to make the difference we need to make.