Faith or Hope

by Val

This is and isn’t about cancer. It is and isn’t about me. This may ramble all over the place.  It feels like I’m sharing secrets. Secrets that in person I’m not shy talking about but it’s the first time to put them in print. I share because it’s what is going through my head this morning and some of it may be more relatable than cancer. 

I have a loved one who struggles with addiction. His dance with the substances have taken him to dark places and lows multiple times. I have glimpses of reasons and trauma but I will not offer them as excuses. That’s unfair to those who have been hurt and been pulled into the cycle.

I am powerless to help him. I’ve been building up to this point for years and now in my current situation I cannot take on the emotional battle. I have to reserve that energy for myself. And even though I know that really with or without cancer there is not a thing I can physically do for him, it does not make it easier to throw my hands up and say to a higher power “I’m turning this one over to you. I’ve failed and I don’t know what else to do. I know this is his journey but it keeps showing up in my life so there must be a lesson here for me too. I’ve tried all the other answers so this is the one I am at. I’m at it’s not my battle.”

Full disclosure before we go further, I describe myself as a spiritual person but I’m not committed to one religious belief. I’ve been to church here and there. My bible pondering is very elementary like I wonder if Jesus called Mary mom or Mary. I don’t even know if the Bible describes little boy Jesus and if it does was he mischievous. I know I am probably making some of your heads pop off right now. But I’m just being honest with you. I try to live by a simple creed, just be good to people. Choose love. My spirituality is just one area in my life that organized has not fit. So I say I’m spiritual but not religious. I’m hodge podgy…and zero of it looks traditional.

Anyway all that said to say that reflecting on my loved one this morning got me thinking about faith vs hope.  I know this will be a surprise but I googled faith vs hope this morning. I saw an explanation that faith is the belief it is true now and hope is a belief that it can be true in the future. 

Honestly, I have very little faith of my loved one winning the struggle with addiction. I feel horrible admitting that. I see 3 paths that can happen. Prison, overdose, and recovery. So far the first two are the only paths taken. Eventually one of these will win out if recovery doesn’t. That may sound matter of fact but it’s a reality I know. I’ve shared it with him. I’ve begged, pleaded, guilted, yelled and cried it. 

In current day I do not have faith but I always have hope. 

Now here is where cancer intertwines. From the moment I came to peace with having cancer, I’m talking before I heard the word officially, I have had faith that I am going to be alright. I’m not hoping for something in the future. I’m already there. I believe it’s all ok. Ok may change forms from time to time but I know I’m good. I think that sometimes my faith in that has been scary for others because they thought I was not being realistic. They had/have hope for me. 

Thinking about this and where I am with my loved one. It made me wonder, is faith internal and hope external? So is it not for me to have faith for my loved one but for him to find. And is it for me to have faith in this cancer journey and others to have hope? Do we find faith by watching others do what we hope for? 

Is that why it hurts so much when someone you don’t know succumbs? Other people have lost loved ones to addiction and watching it has felt like a shake to the Hope tree for me with a little bit of hope falling off. 

This is what I’ve been pondering on a Sunday morning.

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