An event in 1974 led to a major decision twenty-one years later. It wasn't Watergate or the disbanding of the Beatles. It was a television event, and I fell in love with a name, Hope.
I grew up in a world where teenagers watched soap operas, so a few hours before The Brady Bunch, I watched Days of Our Lives. Here's a little Days, that's what we called the show, history.
Addie Horton discovered that she was pregnant but also ill with Leukemia. Instead of harming the baby with treatments, she let the cancer take its course. Addie and Doug named their first and only child Hope. Soon afterwards, as Addie was walking with Hope, a car spun out towards them, and Addie (realizing she wouldn't live long) pushed Hope's stroller to safety and let the car hit her instead, killing her instantly.
This was an emotional event for a Days loving adolescent girl, and I remember thinking, "what a beautiful name, so positive," and because I dreamed of prince charming, a house, and perfect children, Hope was placed in the back of my head for a future baby name.
Each time I read a verse with the word hope, especially Hebrews 11:1 "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see," I feel in love with the name again, for I was a daydreamer with many hopes.
My Grandmother King, a gracious, sociable lady, suffered with an immune deficiency for many years. Seeing her ill so often, I once said to her, "I know you're tired of always being sick." She replied, "Honey, where there is life, there is hope." I remembered those words when I was pregnant, and although I often heard, "That's an old name, isn't it?" and "There are so many popular names to choose from, what about....,” I didn't waver. On December 18, 1995, one week before Christmas, baby Susannah Hope was born.
Hope cried night and day for two months and went through the terrible twos at the age of one, but other than that, she was, and still is, a delight. Teachers described her as “the sweetest.” Friends and family describe her as sweet, funny, beautiful, and caring.
Hope wasn't the most popular name for a baby then nor is it now, but I look at her with a mother's heart and believe she genuinely lives up to her name. Even though Hope shares my love of sarcasm, she lights up every room she enters.
The name stayed with me because it was positive, and so is my daughter. She offers so much to her world: patience, kindness, laughter, and compassion. I cannot imagine a world without my Hope. As a sister, daughter, granddaughter, niece, and cousin, Hope brings life to our gatherings. She shows us the Holy Spirit.
"And his name will be the hope of all the world." Matthew 12:21
I also cannot imagine life without the hope of all the world, Jesus.
....what we hope for. Of course, I hope for material and selfish things. I hope for good health for myself, my family, and my friends. I hope for the best in life even though I often don't know what that looks like, which is where faith enters the picture. I hope for peace and salvation for family, friends, and people I meet.
There are many reasons to feel hopeless: poor health, poverty, relationship problems, depression, loss, and uncertainties. But there is hope.
In Taylor Caldwell's short story, "My Christmas Miracle," packages from a stranger arrive unexpectedly on Christmas Eve to a single mother with a hungry daughter and no job. And she writes, "and a sweet peace flooded me like a benediction. I had some hope again." Even in the darkest times, there is hope.
It's the season to offer hope to all the world through Angel Trees with names of strangers, gifts to co-workers and neighbors in need, encouragement to friends with life-changing uncertainties, visits to families who feel forgotten. With every dollar given, present unwrapped, meal cooked, hospital corridor walked, or encouragement offered, we give a promise. There is hope.
Happy 22nd Birthday to my Hope, who has makes our world more positive, our home more joyful, and our hearts more grateful.
We Love You,
Dad, Mom, Luke, and James
I hope each of you experience Christ, the Hope of the World,
Anderson Area Charity in Need: New Foundations Children and Youth Services in Anderson, South Carolina. http://newfoundationschildren.com/
A story of hope and good Christmas read, written by a dear friend and author, Laura Hodges Poole: "A Christmas Chance." https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23487371-a-christmas-chance
Two short stories about the hope we can bring to others during this season:
My Christmas Miracle by Taylor Caldwell
A Gift of the Heart by Norman Vincent Peale
During my "research," on Wikipedia, I found an interesting fact about the actress who played Addie Horton on Days of Our Lives. Patricia Barry played Addie from April 19, 1971 to June 28, 1974. Barry reprised her role as Addie for one episode on December 18, 1974.