“Hope costs nothing.” –Colette (1873-1954, French writer)

Hope costs nothing. In a literal sense, this is true. There is no monetary cost to hope. And yet, for me, hope costs everything sometimes because “hope deferred makes the heart sick,” as the writer of Proverbs says (Proverbs 13:12). And the more I hope for something, the sicker my heart becomes when it does not happen. So I find myself resisting hope. Pushing it away. I fear it, and the agony of hope deferred—an agony I know only too well.

But the writer of Proverbs goes on to say but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” So in refusing to hope, am I cheating myself of the tree of life? Is this refusal to hope at the root of my inability to manifest good things in my life? How do I learn to reach for my soul’s deepest longings while I still try to protect myself from the pain of hope deferred?

Maybe this is what risk is truly all about. Risk is daring to hope for my soul’s desires despite the risk of not achieving them. It’s looking that fear in the eye and hoping anyway, even when my innards cringe in fear and I feel my heart turning in on itself. It’s having enough courage to ask for what I want with no guarantees. Hope comes with no guarantees, no warranties, no protection.

Hope costs nothing, perhaps. And yet, it costs everything. Hope is the greatest risk I know because hope is always the first step on any risky journey. So what shall I hope for today?