Spreading Hope



A couple days ago, I was making muffins in the kitchen, and happened to glance at the back of the box. Under the required instruction was another serving suggestion: "For a delicious treat, add x amount of coconut." My knee-jerk reaction was to laugh at this--aren't muffins already a delicious treat? Someone didn't phrase that right.

But then I stopped, and I looked at it again. 

And it hit me: I don't want to be the cynic.

At my workplace, I am hands-down the optimist, which is weird because I'm also a grouchy, angsty, whiny complainer who can grouse just as loudly as anyone else in there. But while my coworkers tend to be all grumpy all the time, I can usually find a bright side to things. At home, though, that attitude vanishes from me, and I'm left with only my cynicism.

Sometimes, I'm okay with that. I like to laugh, and I like to be sarcastic, and I like to be angsty. But there's too much about life that's beautiful to do that too much. God made his world full of beauty and truth and hope.

Our world is full of darkness. Bombs go off, women die in childbirth, wars are fought, kids are stolen off the street, people verbally rip each other to shreds...and that barely scratches the surface of everything that's wrong with Planet Earth. It would be so easy to be cynical, to let the darkness around us overcome us just like everyone else in the world. But we're called to something else. 

"You are the light of the world," Jesus says. "A city on a hill cannot be hidden." 

And that's you. That's me. That's all of us who are His. We are the light of the world! We're called to shine our lanterns into the dark. We don't take our candle and put it under a basket--what would be the purpose of that? No, we hold the light up high and let everyone see it. 

I strive to take this attitude in my writing and have for years. My books may be very, very dark. They may feature real horror situations within my alternate history and dystopia. The fantasy may contain torture and death. The protagonists mess up and make mistakes that affect everyone around them; my stories are full of real PTSD and depression. 

But we are also called to light. And hope. 

And so I always want to leave my readers with a sense that no matter how great the darkness, the light will overcome. The darkness of my stories is great--because my hope is that you will see as a result the still greater light. In my Pentegreen series, Esma endures hardship that makes me cry as I write it. But that's why, in the end (*spoiler alert*), she will triumph. I will never write a story with a tragic ending. You might see me kill off half my characters--my protagonist isn't usually immune to this, although I've never killed one of them (at least so far). But there will be victory over the darkness. 

That's why I write big, epic, sprawling stories--because the greater the scope, the greater the stakes, and the more hope and victory there is in the end. These are the stories I strive to give the world, and it's the kind of story I want my life to write. 

God calls me to be his light. And even though with man it may be impossible for me to show only hope and not succumb to darkness, with God, all things are possible. 

I'm going to seek to live a life of hope and light. Will you join me, friends? 

Comments

  1. *ALL THE APPLAUSE* LOVE YOU, FAITH <3 <3 <3

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  2. This was a really uplifting and refreshing post to read. <3 I 100% agree.

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  3. Oh, wow. This is AMAZING. I so relate to being the happy person at work while grouching at home. But I realize that's not a good thing and trying to be the happy person everywhere! Hahaha! Yes, I too love life and think it's a beautiful gift from God. That is why I embrace reality, don't wish to escape it in fiction and live on Earth not Narnia ;D And your stories of darkness that finds light - that's how I like to write, too. I love this post so much ;D

    keturahskorner.blogspot.com

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    1. I definitely think that we all could work on being a little less grouchy in our everyday life, to be honest. :P But your points here are all so good! Thank you for reading :D

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  4. YES TO EVERYTHING IN THIS POST! I’m definitely that person who's super outgoing and enthusiastic at work, but then I get home and it all just crumbles. XD Should probably work on that......

    And I literally have no words for the rest of this post because AAH SO TRUE! #hopefulbooks2019

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    1. THANK YOU NICOLE! We all need to, really...

      Ahhh thank you so much! And that hashtag needs to be a thing for sure. Let's start a movement on that ;)

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  5. I love this! I try to do that in my writing too.
    It's always got to come back to hope.

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    1. Yes!
      And I can't wait to read Falling Snow in just a couple of days, BTW! My copy is on its way ^_^

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  6. GIIIIRL. Just...AAAHHH! It's like you put everything I believe and strive for into words. Like...I relate to this post so MUCH.

    First of all, I'm a total paradox of a complete cynic and constant optimistic encourager so...I don't even know??? But I definitely want to be less cynical and shine light and hope. And that is the ULTIMATE goal of my stories. I can write some dark, gritty stuff, but I will never write a hopeless ending.

    "That's why I write big, epic, sprawling stories--because the greater the scope, the greater the stakes, and the more hope and victory there is in the end." <--- THIS. This is exactly me! Or...what I attempt to accomplish. It's so encouraging seeing others share this same goal.

    I just loved everything about this post! Thank you for sharing and shining your light. You're a gem, Faith. <3

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    1. THANK YOU SO MUCH CHRISTINE! This warms my cold heart so much :)

      I know! I think to some extent, we all are. It's so hard to balance. But hope is so crucial and there's such a difference between books without hope (like "Brave New World" and, arguably, "The Hunger Games") and books with hope (LotR, Goldstone Wood).

      YES! I'm so glad we agree on that :)

      You're so welcome! And thank you so much :) You're the best.

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  7. Wonderful post. And I'm seeing that we are more alike than we intially thought. I am the exact same way. Optimist at work, cynic at home. I'M SO HAPPY I'M NOT ALONE IN THIS. I thought I was the only one. <3 This post has inspired me greatly. God bless. <3

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    1. Oh, my dear, it's time for us to just accept that we are in every way imaginable twins. XD I'm so glad this inspired you!

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  8. YEEEEEEEEEEES!! This is amazing!!! Well said, Faith:)

    Lia

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  9. Amen. This post sums up perfectly what I want to do with my writing. Spread light and hope through the stories I tell.

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    1. I think that's what we should all strive for :D Thanks for reading!

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  10. As the old cliche goes, the light shines brighter in darkness.

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  11. This is a really wonderful reminder.

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  12. Love this so much, Faith. Great reminder.

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  13. I love this!! And you pretty much exactly described my own feelings! I strive to show hope and goodness and light in my life and my writing, even in all the darkness. Because that's what every person needs, hope in the darkness of this world.

    Beautiful post! I love it.

    theonesthatreallymatter.blogspot.com

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  14. YAS, I feel this so much. This is exactly what I strive to write into all of my stories. It especially hit me with Simon Says. It deals with so much that I've struggled with over the past few years, that it kind of hit me hard in the feels. I really hope it brings hope to those who struggle, and I hope the same for your books!

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    1. YESSS! I love that sort of book and that just makes me really excited to read yours! :D

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  15. Wow, somehow I totally missed this post in my feed! Good thing I've found it, though, because it's so INSPIRING. A great reminder of the real, deep-down point to writing stories: shining the light of Jesus. <3

    God has been showing me a lot about attitude (especially at home) too. Sometimes I feel like such a rough draft, but thank the Lord He never abandons His WIPs.

    Great post, Faith! <3

    Lila @ The Red-Hooded Writer

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    1. Awww, I'm glad you found it too! XD I try to be inspiring but so often I think I've failed...

      That's a BEAUTIFUL way of phrasing that, my goodness. I love it. <3

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  16. Lovely post! I've been thinking about that too lately, striving to be a light, especially when I'm out in public at work and places like that. Thanks for the reminder!

    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com
    verbosityreviews.com

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