A Four-Letter Word

by RM Harshman

Four-letter words run rampant in today speak. A few probably surfaced in your mind just at the suggestion. I’m not talking about those kind of words. I’m talking about HOPE.

Just like “other” four-letter words, HOPE can be used as a noun or verb. It can be used to describe one’s emotional state, either by leaving it alone or following it with –less.

HOPE is a platform. A stage to announce to the world our triumphs.

HOPE is the person picking up on the other end of a 3 a.m. phone call. It’s a deep, warm hug assuring us all is OK.

HOPE is the backbone of the sick and injured. It is the motivator for American fighting forces.

From the signing of the Declaration of Independence to the overtaking of Marjah, Afghanistan, HOPE has been an underlying factor in almost every step. The hope for freedom. The hope for safety. The hope for forgiveness. The hope for one more day.

HOPE itself is just a word. But when it’s spoken or when it’s shown, it’s stronger than anger or sadness. And it’s more contagious than a mid-afternoon yawn.

Life as we know it requires HOPE. Hope is the starting point of any goal and can be found at every milestone along the way. It cannot be confused with a magical act or the ease of something “just” happening. HOPE is an enabler, a push forward from both ourselves and others.

When we cry to our mothers, we hope they will hear us. When our mothers hear our cries, they hope they can help us. Both are starting points of assessing, planning and acting. The more hope we give or receive, the farther away we push the source of our pain.

There is no better name for a family who gives, loves, mentors and cherishes one another than HOPE. Hope for The Warriors embodies the same qualities as a mother: compassion, firmness, equality and love.

HOPE is more than a four-letter word to me. It has / They have helped me regain my happiness, security and love of life. I have become a better man, a better husband to my wife, a better father to our children, and a better warrior for our people.

Every step I take today, whether forward or backward, is laced in HOPE for the next step to be better. The HOPE I receive, I share.

It’s a great reminder to be gracious receivers of HOPE. And when we have HOPE to give, we share it.