Tesfa endatakortu. These words translate to “do not cut hope” in Amharic. When we are going through the hardest of times and down on their luck, we are admonished to keep the faith and to not cut hope out of our lives. Invariably, the times that try all of our souls come and we are faced with the existential questions of “why me” and “what next”. If there is one trait above all that interconnects the entirety of humanity, that trait has to be pain for wounds and scars are universal. We don’t have to speak a common language to share the common experiences of loss, despair and fear that pain inculcates in our hearts.
But if pain is language that all of us speak and experiences that all have felt, the opposite of pain has to be equally omnipresent in the human experience. Where there is pain, there is hope—hope is what gives us the ability to push through tribulation and endure the hardships that come with life. Our resilience is astounding, people have been able to survive atrocities and mind bending tragedies armed with nothing but hope. Next to love, hope is the most powerful of human emotions. If storm clouds envelops us in seemingly perpetual distress, hope is the sun that pulsates through the clouds and lets us know that all storms give way to sun rays.
I’m going to keep the article short today and let the video below augment this truncated message. Not too long ago, I walked swaddled by shadows and engulfed by billows. In all honesty, I had lost hope and was content to live out the rest of my life in barrenness. When we give our hand to hopelessness, setbacks morph into a permanent tribulation. Yet, where I lost hope, hope refused to lose me back. A procession of people, really I call them angelic strangers, kept encouraging me and would not let me give up on myself. Where I saw the abyss and hope’s twilight, they saw my light and kept blowing at the smoldering amber. With enough love and enough huffs, the embers came aglow and hope grew back in my heart.
You can in fact go back home again the minute you realize that hope was always inside. After a long journey, one full of splinters and shivs to my heart, I finally found the very purpose I’ve been looking for all my life—I write it here daily. It was hope that kept me when I refused to keep hope. As much as I tried to cut hope, in my heart I kept tesfa (hope) in my heart even if it was flickering light. That flickering light has now finally come to life. Once broken, now fulfilled. Countless times crossed, I am now blessed enough to have a love who loves back instead of a love that leaves when the giving is over. Hope and love, I choose love all the time, but hope is the canvass on which love is painted. #TesfaAlways
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Check out the Ghion Cast below, I share a bit of my testimony and the decision I had to make of either being like Jonah and being bitter or being like Joseph and being blessed. Find out which decision I made.
Check out the Ghion Cast below where I discuss the very notions of hope and accepting the duality of life.
No matter what you are going through in life, I hope you dance…
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.