Hope …You raise me up

There is a picture hanging in the Tate Britain called Hope by Victorian artist George Frederic Watts, its not very colourful and yet the first time I ever saw it I cried. It depicts a woman in ragged clothes sitting a on a globe, she wears a blindfold and in her hand is a lyre with just one string. She is listening with all her might for the sound of even just one string. That is Hope, when the music is so faint you can hardly hear it, when all else seems to have disappeared, Hope is still there in the darkness, in the midst of trouble like a tiny pilot light that still glimmers. 

My reaction to this painting was physical and immediate, I recognised the effort required to hear the sound of hope. There’ve been so many times in my life when I’ve clung on to hope like a drowning soul, when hope has shone like a beacon of light, filling me with peace and faith.

Despite the hands I’ve been dealt, hope has carried me through divorce, bereavement, illness, losing jobs and homes and struggling with finances. I can’t prove it to anyone, can’t make you hang on or believe what I say, I only know that it has been hope that has got me through, along with the three “F”s , my faith, my family and my friends.

The painting might appear a bit gloomy but it is apparently Barack Obama’s favourite one and is credited with setting him along the road to the Whitehouse. Nelson Mandela was similarly inspired by the painting and kept a copy on the wall of his cell while imprisoned on Robben Island. Here is someone who could really have abandoned hope and yet what a triumph of the human spirit over adversity he showed.

So if you’re wondering where you’re headed, where you will get the strength or will to carry on , listen …, listen for the sound of that one string, faint as it is for it is the sound of hope. I love the words of the popular song You Raise Me Up. That’s what hope does, raises us up so we can stand on mountains, to be more than we could ever be alone.

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up… To more than I can be.

There is no life – no life without its hunger;
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up… To more than I can be.

With Love



About alicesapplesofgold

I'm a mother and grandmother, though not so old, and live in one of the most beautiful places in the country, Cornwall. fortunate enough to live by the sea I never want to be too far away from its sight and sound. I love music, words, painting, life, my family, my friends and most of all my faith. I live on the same roller coaster as everyone else but love to encourage others, support them when they're struggling and most of all want to have made a difference to the world by the time I leave it. I believe faith is an intimate part of everyday life and seek to relate the ordinary to the divine. It is the encouragement of others that has brought me to this point.
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One Response to Hope …You raise me up

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