The Hunger Games and the Gift of Hope

Hunger Games and the Gift of Hope

Last weekend, I watched The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Having never read the books (please hold your contempt :)), I had no idea what to expect as much as I didn’t know what to expect from the first movie. I must say I was thoroughly entertained even with my hands going up in my face half of the time to block the view of all the impending violence (I’m a scaredy-cat, what can I say?). But I was surprised at the thing that struck me most about the movie, and that I really didn’t expect to see in the development of this story; that is the overarching theme that fear only works so long as people lack the gift of hope. It’s such a simple, yet powerful message. Dontcha think?

I won’t attempt to summarize the movie, because I am sure most of you are familiar with the story or might be planning to go see the movie, read the books, or both. But just for some context, essentially the main character, Katniss Everdeen, through her strong and rebellious spirit, manages to give the gift of hope to a society that has been bogged down by the government-led fear tactics they have endured their entire lives. When the leader of this society, President Snow, starts to realize that Katniss has become a symbol of hope for his people, he begins to worry that his fear tactics will become increasingly unsuccessful, because fear only works when there is no hope. In other words, the gift hope is stronger than the threat of fear.

Those words really struck a chord in me, and I’ve been thinking about them ever since. Today, on Thanksgiving, I have to say that the thing I am definitely most thankful for in 2013 is the realization that the gift of hope in my heart really is and always will be stronger than any threat of fear in my mind. I have fought some demons this year, particularly in the shape of toxic people, but through the gift of hope, I was able to let go, and come out of it all stronger, more determined and more confident.

This year, I realized that I have enough belief in myself that I rather wait for the right things, than to accept the mediocre things that deplete instead of nourish my soul. I realized that no matter what is happening around me, I always have hope that tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year holds something spectacular for me and usually, little by little, it does. I realized that flowers always blossom out of just buds, that strength can be derived from pain, and that fear will never win, so long as I have the gift of hope with me.

So my point is, if you are not feeling too hopeful, I suggest you dig deep, because that little hope sucka is quite helpful, even when you’re dealing with the likes of President Snow! And when you find it, hold on to it, because it will save you and give you so much.

So, what are you most thankful for this year? Even if you don’t wish to share it, it’s definitely a worthwhile reflection. Just stop, take a deep breath and find a moment to be truly grateful for whatever that might be.

Happy Thanksgiving ya’ll!

Love,

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Luck Needs Your Faithful Reminder Tonight

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve really become serious about making progress on what has evolved from one huge book with every life-improving/motivational topic under the sun to a much more digestible series of eBooks that will each cover one topic. One night a week I come to a Starbucks in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago because its open later than any other coffee shop I’ve seen. And, I write.

It’s a really great spot for writing. This location has an awesome set-up with a sort of counter-stool area that allows you to work while you look out onto the street. Watching people walk by and life happen while I write just helps me stay focused in a weird way. I am productive here. My creative juices just go buck wild.

Now this is also the neighborhood where I volunteer every other Saturday with what is mostly street-based youth. In the last couple of weeks, as I’ve been writing and watching life happen from this Starbucks window, I’ve seen several of the youth I volunteer with walking by. A few of them pace back and forth for the several hours I sit here, suitcases in hand, often looking lost and as if they are just passing the time, because well, they have nowhere to go. And it’s incredibly heartbreaking.

Here I sit drinking my $5 coffee, thinking of myself as unprivileged because of the circumstances I come from, constantly stressing out because of the mountainous debt that keeps me up at night,   and forever worrying about how and when I am going to get to where I want to be in my life with respect to career, love, family stability and everything else I worry about. When will I finish these books, when will I have financial stability, when will I truly get past the issues of my troubled childhood?

But then I see these kids, walking back and forth, with everything they own in one suitcase, trying to figure out where to sleep tonight, and I remember just how incredibly lucky I am. Suddenly, I focus less on everything I do not have, and focus more on all of the great things I sometimes take for granted in my life. I start to pay more attention to all the luck I do have, despite whatever misfortunes I might struggle with.

So I just thought I’d write a little note to encourage you to focus on everything that you have, and try and give less heart and brain space to all of the things you wish you had or you feel you’ve been cheated out of in life. Because if you have a roof over your head, health in your blood, and food in your stomach, you are already so much more fortunate than a lot of people out there in this troubled world. 

If you really try and focus on the fact that you are indeed very lucky just a little more often, I think you will find more HAPPY in your heart and more peace in your mind. So tonight, before I go to bed, and every night after that, I will say to myself, “You are very lucky,” and I hope you will give it a shot too.

With eternal love and hope,

Sonia, Word Share Junkie