chapter  10
Living with Hope and Gratitude
Pages 14

Within the diverse terrain of human experiences, hope is the posture that sustains

spiritually resilient adults as they face the realities of growing old, including

the need to say their final goodbyes to those they love. They remain hopeful,

in spite of not knowing “how long that is.” Hope is also what sustains them

as many relationships change when friends and family members die or move,

and they need to find new relationships, or deepen old ones. Hope allows them

to come to terms with their past and write a new story for the future, one that

transcends death and separations. Although despair remains an ever-real pos-

sibility throughout all of this emotional work, even the threat of despair is not

completely negative, for it motivates the spiritually strong to discover new

meanings within narratives of their faith tradition. Those hope-giving holy

stories are, for spiritually resilient elders, the anchors that steady them while

they navigate the stormy waters of grief and travel into unknown futures. It is,

perhaps, not surprising that the traditional Navy Hymn, composed by English

pastor Edward Mote (1797-1874), pictures religious hope as an anchor for

those sailing into unknown seas: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’

blood and righteousness” (Price, 1992).