In the midst of crises that plague the human soul there has inevitably been one small feeling that has sustained us in the darkness. That feeling is a small word that has the ability to enter our hearts and fill it with the idea that we can make it through dark times and come out of them where a better part of life is waiting for us. That word is hope.

Hope is a word and feeling that truly relates to trust. Having hope means that you are willing to trust in the potentialofa positive future. The willingness to do that, to trust, is powerful. Archbishop Desmond Tutu sees hope as a light. “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”

Hope. Light. Both dispel the dark. Just as the light of a sunrise takes us from the darkness of night to a bright day full of potential, so hope can take us out of the darkness of despair in a present situation into the potential of a better future.

The definition of hope can change from one individual to another. Some people see it as a whispered incantation to themselves that things will turn out well—a necessary form of positive thinking. Other people place hope outside themselves, turning to religion as a source of comfort. However we define the word hope we know that it is a small flowering seed that sustains us when we need it the most, even though there are times when we have to actively search for it.

2020 was a year that brought unexpected pain, sadness, horrible feelings of fear and despair. We were thrust into a world of chaos that most of us had never experienced or thought we would ever experience in our lifetime. Hope rose timidly in the first few months of last year only to be squelched by the overwhelming feelings of fear and confusion as things got worse and worse and worse. Where in all the universe was that feeling called hope? We were in the depths of a crisis and hope seemed to truly be lost.

But human emotions thrive on hope. We are creatures who need the thought that life’s problems can be solved, settled, helped—we need to feel hopeful that all will be okay in the long run. People in the most horrible of circumstances cling to the idea of hope. Hope was still there in 2020. We only had to acknowledge its presence.

Many people are beginning to be optimistic about the year 2021. They have hope that, with the new vaccines available against the Covid-19 virus, the darkest days of the pandemic will soon be in the rearview mirror.

Hope. Optimism. Trust. Three words and feelings sorely needed right about now.

But I also know there are many who say ‘we’re not out of the woods yet,’ the worst may be yet to come, the pandemic is still with us, and death and despair still hold a terrible sway over so many lives. I hear you and I understand. I am fearful of all that can happen if we let our guard down, if we’re not cautious. Getting out of the woods is a priority, I know that.

Yet in my heart, in my soul, that flickering light of hope, the tiny light that can dispel the darkness of the woods and show us the way, is growing and allowing me to see the possibility of a return to normal life. I have hope, oh yes, I have hope.

And my hope for 2021 is more than just a return to normal. My hope for 2021 is that we can take some of the hard lessons, the bitter pain of those lessons that we’ve been forced to learn in 2020, and begin applying them in 2021 to make sure that we never have to go through another year like 2020.

Hope. It lives in each one of us. Let’s give it a chance to shine a positive light into the future. Let’s be hopeful and trust in the potential of a more positive future for all.

Right now we need that small but significant word to shine for us.



  • Kristen Houghton

    Kristen Houghton

    Thrive Global

    Kristen Houghton is the award-winning author of the popular series, A Cate Harlow Private Investigation.  She is also the author of nine novels, two non-fiction books, a collection of short stories, a book of essays, and a children’s novella. Her horror novel, Welcome to Hell, was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award. Houghton has covered politics, news, and lifestyle issues as a contributor to the Huffington Post. Her writing portfolio includes Criminal Element Magazine, a division of Macmillan Publishing, Today, senior fiction editor at Bella Magazine, interviews and reviews for HBO documentaries, OWN, The Oprah Winfrey Network, and The Style Channel. Before becoming a full-time  author, Kristen, who holds an Ed.D. in linguistics, taught World Languages on the high school and university levels. Along with her husband, educator Alan William Hopper, she is a philanthropist for Project Literacy and Shelters With Heart, safe havens for victims of domestic abuse and their pets . mailto:  [email protected]