Hope is a “bear necessity” of life.

by Jan on September 28, 2011

“In this world of change, nothing which comes stays, and nothing which goes is lost” ~ Anne Sophie Swetchine

Have you heard that HOPE is missing? The famous black bear, Hope that is.

A search for Hope has been going on for days by the North American Bear Center near Ely, Minnesota. Reports released several times a day inform us that she is still missing.

Hope and her mother Lilly were an Internet sensation when Hope was born two years ago in a den in northern Minnesota. In October 2010, a one-year-old Hope and her mother were seen (in photo) choosing a site for their winter den.

She’s a determined bear. Four times a new radio collar was placed around her neck to identify her, monitor her whereabouts, and to keep hunters away.  And, four times she took it off, leaving her exposed. She was last seen near a bear trap – a legal one.

As I read the story about Hope the bear, I began to wonder about Hope the idea …
Can hope be lost?
What do you do if it seems lost?
Or conversely…Without hope will we be lost?

I believe hope can be lost.  I also know it can be found again.  I’ve personally observed that hope can smolder down to its last ember, but with just a little fanning the sparks come to life again. Hope always exists, ready for us.

Sometimes a miracle happens when we create a space for hope in our hearts.  Hope may not change the outward situation but hope does change us internally. It increases our ability to cope. This is an active hope – one that adds strength to our lives.

I think hope is a critical mechanism for our larger society.  It’s hope that helps us maintain perspective and composure in a world where there is no certainty.  If more people were a little more hopeful, we might relax a bit and work together in a more positive way.  We could use that now.

My friend Katrina tells me that she still searches for her husband’s wedding ring, lost a year ago at a polling place, every time she goes to a nearby park. The ring is very important to her because it received a special blessing for their marriage.  Rationally she knows the ring is gone forever but there’s a lingering hope that maybe, just maybe it will turn up there amongst the blades of grass.

Just maybe that spirited and curious bear, Hope, will turn up in someone’s backyard hungry and tired, amongst the blades of grass.

I hope she does.

Photo Credit: Sue Mansfield, Duluth News Tribune

Postscript: After this post went to “WordPress” we learned that Hope the bear had indeed been killed by a hunter.  We’re saddened by her passing but are optimistic that her story may inspire us to live a more hopeful existence.  R.I.P. Hope (the bear).


Love this post. It is interesting to consider how sometimes hope manifests itself as the courage to move beyond the past. The spark that ignites hope may be something as simple as letting go of that lost ring (or bear). Or, to put it another way, is it possible to look ahead in life while you still have one eye in the rear-view mirror?

by David on September 28, 2011 at 4:02 pm. #

Great point, David. Sometimes letting go is the very thing that is needed to create the space in our hearts for hope to grow. And sometimes, remembering the past, without holding too tightly to it, gives us the strength for hope. Really appreciate your thoughts.

by Elizabeth on September 30, 2011 at 12:05 pm. #