This post was originally published on Michigan Chronicle

By Sherri Kolade

It’s defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain something to happen. Hope is what people have when starting a new job, when dating an engaging person and even on the first day of school. It’s also something that can try our faith and patience when we don’t see what we’re expecting.  

As the scripture in Proverbs 13:12 states, “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.”  

In the United States, April is National Month of Hope, which focuses on celebrating the power of hope — the belief that things will work out, especially when it seems otherwise, according to https://www.impactca.org/.    

National Month of Hope was founded by an organization committed to health and wellness and food security for families, among other significant initiatives. The group called “Mothers in Crisis” adopted the acronym HOPEE which stands for Helping Others Practice Enduring Empowerment. They started using the month of April to provide hope to the people they serve and encouraged others to do the same.   

The four-letter word is an idea clung to by millions over the past two years. When times are hard, hope is what continues to drive people forward. It’s hope that things will get better. It’s hope that people might again experience “normal.” And most of all, it’s hope that we’ll all come out of this pandemic stronger than ever before.   

How Can One Spread Hope this Month?    

Spring has sprung, or at least it says so on the calendar. You may be slowly returning to work or simply stopping to smell the roses on a walk outside. Wherever you look, there are signs of hope and renewal associated with spring.   

Use this as an opportunity to breathe new life into the word hope by checking out some tips on how to embrace the month.    

Hope for Self   

  • Practicing hope for yourself may not be the first thing that comes to mind with the National Month of Hope. You may ask: isn’t this about serving others? To do good in the world, you need to be your best self. It’s hard to provide hope for others if you aren’t feeling it yourself.   
  • Think of something that might provide you with hope and practice it regularly. For example, chatting with friends you haven’t caught up with in a while is the perfect way to provide a newfound sense of hope. Remember that soon you’ll be able to catch up in person. Writing down the things you’ll be able to do once the world goes back to normal may also help provide hope. Everybody is different, so think about personal ways to provide a sense of hope for yourself.   

Hope for the Family    

  • Take some time out of your day to check in with your family members. Although you probably haven’t been able to gather with them as much this year or last, if at all, you can still pick up the phone or use technology to video chat. There is hope that you’ll be able to hug again soon. Remind your family about how much they mean to you and offer words of encouragement during this difficult time that we’re collectively experiencing.   

Hope for/within the Community    

  • Consider what’s happening in your community and those who may need hope. Volunteer at your favorite local organization or organize a fundraiser for a community member in need. Spend the afternoon picking up trash in your neighborhood. There are ample ways to provide hope to others in the community, both big and small. Think about what your community might need most, and then take small steps to help achieve the larger goal. If you aren’t sure, call local organizations and ask! They’re always willing to share.   

Hope for the Nation and World    

  • Consider larger initiatives you can become involved in that help provide hope for people in our nation or even the world. Find an organization that supports a global cause, like world hunger or our environment. Consider donating to those organizations. Or, you can take steps to provide hope by doing something at the local level that will help the larger planet, like taking up recycling efforts.