When things seem hopeless, it can be really hard to think you’ll ever find hope again.
Dyan and Alik fled their war-torn village in Sudan in 2012, but they were separated as they tried to get to refugee camps in Africa. While fleeing, evidence of their marriage was destroyed.
The camp processed Alik as a single mom. They processed Dyan as a single man, however. This made him a very unlikely candidate for resettlement in the United States.
Alik arrived in Fort Worth, Texas with her two children and their third child on the way. She didn’t know if she would ever see her husband again.
Enter Molly and Mary Claire, two moms looking for a way for their families to serve others. These two families were paired with Alik and her children. As they developed a relationship with Alik, she shared with them about her husband being stuck in a refugee camp in Egypt.
When Alik spoke with her caseworker about getting her husband to the States, the caseworker gave her little hope. Molly and Mary Claire spoke with immigration attorneys, members of Congress, and anyone else who might be able to help them reunite this family. They also were told repeatedly it would be a real miracle for Dyan to join them.
After four long years, and reams of paperwork, Dyan rejoined his family. You can watch the video here.
Perhaps you’re dealing with a situation that seems hopeless, too. Unemployment with no possibilities on the horizon, a persistent illness, marital strife or a family member dealing with addiction. Sometimes it’s hard not to give up hope.
If you’re struggling to find hope, here are some suggestions to help you keep going.
- Find a community to engage with. It is likely that while both Dyan and Alik kept hope in their heart, there were probably times when they thought their efforts were futile. Their friends helped them keep going.
- Be aware of your own self-talk. Negative thoughts will almost certainly lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy. As Carol Dweck in her book “Mindset” points out, self-talk is very powerful. Statements such as, “It hasn’t happened yet, I will eventually find a way,” “This is temporary,” and “Even in the midst of the storm, I am learning,” are very different than giving up hope.
- Do something. Maybe you can’t do what you planned, but you can do something else while you wait. Alik continued to live her life while she was pursuing getting Dyan to the States. While she may have doubted she would ever see her husband again, she made friends with Molly and Mary Claire, cared for her children and participated in activities.
- Keep putting one foot in front of the other. As Dory says in Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.” So often, people throw in the towel just before things start to turn around.
- Phone a friend. Sometimes talking with someone helps.
- Volunteer. Use your skills to help others while you wait. It may help you feel better about yourself and your situation, and you never know who you might meet while you volunteer. You might be able to encourage someone else, too. Or, you might work alongside someone who can help you with your current circumstance. Either way, it’s a win.
Desmund Tutu once said, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness.” If you are still on this earth, you can still find hope.
This article was originally published in the Chattanooga Times Free Press on January 4, 2020.