Hope Monger…if there was a name I would like to be known by it would be “Hope Monger.”
Hope: A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
Monger: Peddling wares, in this case the ware I peddle is HOPE!
I rather like the thought of peddling hope. Yes, people pay me to offer them hope so even though it may seem crude, I cannot fathom a better thing to peddle than hope. When people come to me for counsel, they are usually at the end of their “Hope Rope.” They are holding on for dear life with nowhere to turn. They turn to someone who they believe may give them a few more feet of rope and some exercises to strengthen their “hope” muscles so they can climb back to safety in their struggle for connection, relationship, restoration and change.
By the time people get to me they often have lost all hope. This is their last ditch effort to say they tried everything in the book before throwing in the towel; either on their relationship or sometimes on themselves. I tell clients, my job is to hold the hope for them until they can tangibly feel it again in themselves. The space I create is one of safety and security. A place they can grow in self-confidence, a place where there will be no judgment. They can explore new ways of thinking and begin to spark some belief that life will again hold meaning. Sometimes hope carries them to a new kind of relationship. Other times it gives them confidence to move in a different direction. But no matter the outcome of my hope mongering, my goal is that they can believe change is possible. That in the safety of this space, vulnerability can lead to healing and belief in that which was previously unseen…to see a hopeful, new future.
Other synonyms for hope are trust, expectancy and anticipation. These all work well with my tactic in therapy. I trust that change will take place. Even by calling and setting an appointment, the person has taken the first step toward change. They must build a trusting relationship with me and visa versa. I trust that in session they will show up ready to work toward change. I anticipate that with the tools they are given there is movement taking place, but I also anticipate the change that takes place within session will continue on into the rest of the week with daily interactions. My expectancy is likened to that which I felt when I was pregnant. I couldn’t see the baby forming inside of me; I could only see the evidence of one. I felt the movement in my belly. As I hold each person, couple or family in the safety of love and care, I feel it is like I am holding this unseen result, or future way of being. I see evidence of the growth every now and again, sometimes more than others. But the evidence grows as time in therapy moves forward. Then one day, the birth happens. All of the sudden, (or more likely gradually through time) I realize there is a new relationship that has formed, or a new perception of themselves has birthed. This is through much pain and perseverance, vulnerability and processing. It is like the birthing process and just as sacred as those first moments, holding a new baby, are those moments when I see vulnerability become strength and security. With each passing session, hope grows and this gives me great delight. That is how I feel sometimes when I see people shifting and changing, making new connections, letting go of old habits and believing that life can be different. Hope comes forward through a fog of unbelief and then it becomes your new reality. This process of change and transformation is why I love my job…as a Hope Monger, “because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Romans New Testament).