Words have always been my strong suit, my favorite thing, my most prized possessions.Some people had sports, others music, but words have always been what I’m good at.
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I’m that girl who would dog ear stand out pages in my favorite novels, highlight compelling quotations, and more recently in a fit of spontaneity carefully planned out permanent statement – branded myself in black ink with them. I thought long and hard (think five years of vigilant consideration) about what it was that I wanted to put on my body. I scribbled words, doodled images, spent hours pouring over Pinterest like a true twenty year old female before I fell in love.
“Dum spiro spero”People are forever asking me what the words I eventually chose (and now adorn my right foot) mean. It is a Latin phrase, adopted by South Carolina as its state motto, meaning “while I breathe, I hope.” I’ve always been a bit of an optimist, but in the wise words of Harold Wilson, I’m an optimist who carries a raincoat. If there is one thing I’ve learned over the years, and have been reminded of in a big way recently, it is that no matter what life throws at you – you’ve got to have hope. Hope isn’t a naive notion that nothing bad will ever happen, but it is the knowledge and acceptance that even the worst days only have 24 hours. The sun will set and rise again, and life will go on – it’s our choice whether we make the most of it or not. That’s why I chose “dum spiro spero” as not only my first tattoo, but as part of a daily reminder.
“Dum spiro spero. Dum spero amo. Dum amo vivo.”While I breathe I hope. While I hope I love. While I love I live.
Joshua 1:9 tells us, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” When I am having trouble believing in my “motto,” I find myself coming back to these words. Sometimes we find ourselves questioning where God is in tragedy, in our hardest and darkest moments, and fail to realize that He is there – we just aren’t looking in the right places. We all have those moments when we feel like the world is crashing down around us and that the carpet has been ripped out from right under our feet. These are the moments that hope is the most important; the moments when we feel like we have nothing left to lose are when we have everything left to gain.
Pessimists see hope as a pair of rose-colored glasses, but I am a firm believer that it is so much more. Hope is waking up in the morning after a truly terrible day, and having the courage to get out of bed and try again. Hope is searching the sky for a rainbow after a summer thunderstorm. Hope is figuring out that even though you can’t change the current, you can always adjust your sails. Hope is reminding yourself that good things are going to happen, and that even the darkest cloud has a silver lining. J.K. Rowling even described rock bottom as the solid foundation on which she rebuilt her life.
Not every day will be a good one, and it would be impossible to be hopeful always. But, my challenge to you is to try – just a little each day. Write down one thing you’re grateful for, something good that happened, a hopeful notion… Just one a day. You might be surprised by how much focusing on even the littlest of things can change the entire big picture.
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In the mean time, I’ll be living by my favorite words and hoping with every breath. Dum spiro spero.
Posted in Tell Me Everything- Tagged baby steps, beautiful, beginnings, christianity, college, dreamers, dum spiro spero, hope, life, love, optimism, optimist, tattoos, wordsPost navigation
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