Today is the anniversary of my brother's death, so I dedicate this post to Love—the kind that keeps us going, that offers comfort and encouragement to keep hope alive when all other lights have gone out.
“You go on by doing the best you can. You go on by being generous. You go on by being true. You go on by allowing the unbearable days to pass and by allowing the pleasure in other days. You go on by finding a channel for your love and another for your rage.” — Cheryl Strayed
If you’ve been reading for a while, you might know that I lost my brother to suicide in 2011. After 7 years, the anniversary of his passing is still a tough day.
My decision to move forward after his loss was shaped by his character: he had a profound impact on the people in his world, and I wanted to honor him by being more like him. In that way, I think, I’ve given him to the world, by doing what I love and giving it away.
From the dark dirt of uncertainty, a seedling of hope sprouted. It took a long time, but I returned to writing as nourishment, and now that’s the gift I love to give.
Take these quotes and let them encourage you to keep hope alive when you feel like you’ve been crushed, dismantled, and covered in dirt.
Dark times have the power to bring you into the light, more fully than you’ve ever been before.
10 Quotes + Sentiments to Help You Keep Hope Alive When You Need the Light
1. In the dark cocoon
“I used to see a butterfly in my mind’s eye every time I heard the word transformation, but life has schooled me. Transformation isn’t a butterfly. It’s the thing before you get to be a pretty bug flying away. It’s huddling in the dark cocoon and then pushing your way out. It’s the messy work of making sense of your fortunes and misfortunes, desires and doubts, hang-ups and sorrows, so you can go on and become the person you must next become.” — Cheryl Strayed
Living in a highly connected world is a gift, but we don’t hear enough stories of huddling in the dark cocoon. We see transformation after it’s happened, but there’s messiness involved in the process. Healing is messy work, but it gives new life a chance to take flight.
2. Turning thunder into grace
“It’s turning the thunder into grace, knowing sometimes the break in your heart is like the hole in the flute. Sometimes it’s the place where the music comes through.” — Andrea Gibson
Our broken places, when mended with the bonding agent of love, become the places through which we make our greatest impact on the world.
Hope feels like the memory of spring in the middle of a cold and barren winter.
3. Hope for us all
“I believe there is hope for us all, even amid the suffering and maybe even inside the suffering. And that’s why I write fiction, probably. It’s my attempt to keep that fragile strand of radical hope, to build a fire in the darkness.” —John Green
We rewrite our own realities in order to bring light to an otherwise darkened field. We’re no longer retained by our current circumstances if we choose to create a new story that better reflects our love, rather than just perpetuate our pain.
4. You've been planted
“Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but you’ve actually been planted.” — Christine Caine
Just because we feel lost and confused doesn’t mean we’ve not been planted in the precise position from which to grow towards the light.
5. Do not judge the universe
“I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.” — Dalai Lama
This is one of those quotes that started my journey into a more hopeful and intentional life. Who am I to judge the universe? Who am I NOT to live as fully as I can? I am here, and it is my duty to live.
Hope is not blind. True hope rests on a foundation of resilience. It is born of courage. It sees what closed hearts don't see.
6. There's beauty in the unknowns
“Embrace uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later.” — Bob Goff
We can look behind us and make sense of things, and it’s actually a key factor in post-traumatic growth. We can only look so far ahead and make sense of things. We’re meant to live here in the space we’re given, learn as we go, and do our best to receive insights without forcing their wisdom.
7. Keep some room
“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.” — Mary Oliver
Hope lives when we keep some room in the heart for what we don’t know and can’t yet perceive. This is how healing gets to unfold naturally, without resistance and restraint.
8. Let the universe arrange it for you
“Things are far more beautiful when the universe arranges them for you.” — Jai-Jagdeesh
Surrendering my need to be in control of what’s not mine to control is a great exhale.
Hope tells us that we are worthy of living like we haven't lived before.
9. Share this
“Part of the healing process is sharing with other people who care.” — Jerry Cantrell
You find people who care by sharing. You can't foresee how your story will help someone else. Share because it’s a healing process that complements hope.
10. Other people feel this too
“Sometimes the most healing thing to do is remind ourselves over and over and over, other people feel this too.” — Andrea Gibson
Though I would never wish the suffering I have known on anyone, it’s a relief to know that I am not alone. Others feel what I have felt and will feel, even when I’d like to pretend that I am not understood—what a self-sabotaging, false thing to pretend. We are not islands. Our lives are woven together in endless, invisible and sometimes visible ways. Share. Listen. Learn. Give. Receive. We feel.
. . .
Which of these thoughts did you need to read today?
Tell me in the comments. I read every single one, and I’d love to know!
Never, ever underestimate your impact.
P.S. Nights are hard. Get my book Sleep Affirmations if you need more light in your heart. You might find exactly what you need… or, well, maybe it’ll find you.