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Hope, such a small and little word with large and varied meanings. As a triple amputee hope can seem like a pipe dream looking from the outside in, but I have a different understanding of hope. So many people see hope as a thing they have, as opposed to something they are given.

I choose to see hope as a small thing to find and then take, as something to get me through the day or whatever hard time I might be going through.

We all just came through the holidays... A time of joy, laughter, and time with family. For me though, the holidays - especially Christmas - was a time to feel a bit of misery. I spent the entire Christmas holiday rocking the worst head cold on record. I couldn't breath, I couldn't sleep, and my nose was either a faucet that wouldn't shut off or a cavity filled with concrete!

I spent the entire time laid in bed, and the few times I was up I was in a wheelchair. When you blow your nose so many times you strain your inner ears it becomes a chore to try to keep your balance while walking on bilateral below knee prosthetic legs. What does my holiday misery have to do with hope? Simple, really.

I "had" no hope. I didn't lay in bed sick with a hope that I would get better. I knew the head cold would run it's course, and I would eventually get better - that's simply how head colds work.

I was, however, "given" hope nearly every day. Be it the first time I got to sleep through the night and wake up not feeling like death warmed over, or when my son arrived from his mother's house and came and gave me a hug and told me "Merry Christmas." It was the little things like these that gave me a bit of hope

... A reason to believe that things were getting better.

That is how I choose to view hope, as a thing that is "given" to you, not as a thing you already "have." I don't pine over hopes and dreams; I look for the little things that simply tell me "things are getting better."

I no longer have "hopes and dreams" about my future. Instead, I make plans and work towards them, and every day I find something that gives me a little hope that I am moving in the right direction. You might be a brand new amputee lying in a hospital bed reading this, or a seasoned veteran who has been living this life for years. No matter who you are, look for hope in the small things.

Because that is where you truly find hope, in the little things that tell you today is going to be better than yesterday, because it is.

Go out and look for a little reason to hope, because today is going to be a good day!

B Neil Brown

January 2014

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