Thursday, October 21, 2021

Hope and Faith

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Once upon a time, there lived a girl called Hope in a land not so far away. Hope hoped for many things, but the one thing she hoped for the most was trust. She felt that God had given her everything but cheated her when it came to people. She wished to find people she could trust, people who wouldn’t hurt her or at least meant well.

She thought of all her friends and found not one she could trust, not one she could count on. Few who she had trusted hurt her when she was most vulnerable. She felt that each one of her friends wanted something from her. Hope was a very talented girl and famous at school. She felt that some wanted to cash in on her talent and some on her recognition. With repeated breaches of trust, Hope started believing that it was all her fault, that something was wrong with her, that maybe, she wasn’t good enough.

She stopped making efforts to talk to people, started lying to her friends, started being selfish. Then, she was branded a snob.

One day, her dad got the news that they had to relocate because of his job. They would be moving after the end of Hope’s school year. Hope was happy, the school was a pain for her now that she was the snooty girl, plus she felt worthless nowadays.

So, a new session brought a new school, new people, new courses, and a new hope. Hope had an entire game plan ready. She had heard people gossip about her at her old school, and she thought they knew what was wrong with her. Hence she decided to hide those facts. She didn’t tell anyone about her different talents in the new school, never participated in any extracurricular activities, stayed quiet about what she felt, and never gave her opinion. She found new friends, but soon these friends saw the real Hope, and history repeated itself. Hope was miserable.

In this new school was a girl named Faith. Faith was very popular. She was like the Hope of this school, and only, she was adored by her friends. Hope never heard anyone plotting against Faith or talking behind her back. Hope envied Faith; she had everything Hope had ever hoped for, and all Hope had ever hoped for was some friends. Faith was a star, and sometimes, Hope wanted to be one too; sometimes, Hope missed the spotlight.

Well, as they say, the shine of a diamond doesn’t stay hidden for long. Soon everyone at school started noticing Hope’s talents. If ever she entered contests, she won without exception. But this time, though, she wouldn’t let anyone near her. Hope stayed in solitude, mostly crying when no one was watching and never showing anyone how sad, lonely, and broken she was. Her parents had some idea about this, but they could only do so much because, for Hope, the acceptance of her peers was very important, which she was now rejecting and had entered a vicious cycle of self-destruction. Hope felt cheated, and she thought everything came easy to Faith; she thought her entire life was a joke. She had reached her limit. Hope hanged herself.

People found her in time, and they took her to the hospital. She barely escaped death. The first question she asked her parents after regaining consciousness was, “Why did you save me? You already have my older brother.”

Her mom was perplexed and angry, “Having another child does not make you any less important Hope! You are precious to us; we can’t lose you!” she said.

Hope was shocked. She never knew that she was needed by anyone!

When it was time to go back to school, she asked her parents if she could skip school altogether. That’s when her parents decided that this was beyond their scope and that she needed professional help.

“But Ma! The doctor will laugh at me! My problems aren’t big enough; it’s just that I can’t face them! Plus, I am not crazy, just sad, and what’s the point of me being alive anyway? I am easily replaceable.”

“What gave you that idea, Hope! You are definitely seeing a doctor, who, by the way, isn’t only for the loony. I have read about it, and mental illness is just like any other illness; it’s not just about being crazy”.

“Who said I was mentally ill?”

“Honey, you have depression.” And that ended the conversation.

It didn’t take the psychiatrist long to find out what was really wrong with Hope. She told Hope’s parents and recommended that Faith should maybe talk to Hope. If Hope realized that Faith was just like any other girl with her own share of problems, she would eventually find a way out of this and stop pitying herself.

Since Hope wasn’t going to school, Faith was invited to visit Hope. Both the girls were told that the other wanted to see her. Faith came, nervous and shy. They talked about school and homework and stuff for a while, then Faith said, “You know, I was really surprised that you wanted to see me. I thought you didn’t even know I existed! You are always so good at everything and so ahead of everyone, and you always seem so sorted out and calm; while all of us panic about the surprise test, you ace it without batting an eyelid. In fact, I am even jealous of you a little bit.”

Hope was surprised, and she had never expected this. Then she told Faith that her every waking moment was spent wishing for life like Faith’s.

Both the girls had a really long chat after that, and when Faith left, both of them were thrilled. That day Hope realized something very important. Not all is what meets the eye, and that all of us are given exactly that which we need, and that each moment of our lives build-up to give us that which is best. That day, Hope found new confidence and a sense of independence. She found herself ready to face whatever life throws at her. She understood that everything is not going to be perfect but that she can overcome any challenge; because she got her confidence back because got herself back.

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