Monday, July 11, 2011

Hope and Meaning

I don't claim to dispense great words of wisdom. Ever. I'm not even sure if anyone reads my posts and walks away better for it. I know I used to search the internet for anything that would let me know that there was hope. I would dig through pages of blogs to find people who were like me (gay, and very rarely Mormon too) that had ended up happy, and stronger. At the time it was all I could do from giving up. I've come a really long way since then...but then again that wasn't very long ago either.

I read something earlier this year while preparing a short talk. It was about a man named Viktor Frankl, who was a psychiatrist and concentration camp survivor. Many psychiatrists believe that human beings can not handle very much pain, which is why we develop psychological ways to compensate and survive. Viktor, however, saw that people could withstand and push through great amounts of pain if they could find meaning in their suffering. He saw it was the prisoners who came to believe that the bleakness around them was all there was ever going to be...those who lost hope...that were the ones who broke down, got sick and died much faster. He believed very strongly that "...even the helpless victim of a hopeless situation, facing a fate he can not change, may rise above himself, may grow beyond himself, and by so doing change himself...changing a personal tragedy into a triumph".

Much of the time the only thing that could keep me going was to think that there was some reason for this messed up life of mine. I always fantasized that maybe someday I could find and help somebody going through this same thing and keep them from feeling alone and hopeless like I did. I have yet to do this (directly anyway). Some days I still get discouraged, left feeling like I've helped no one, and it was all pointless. I've only recently been able to recognize what I have done. I've had lots of roommates and friends who probably would have never had the issue of homosexuality come up in their lives if they had not met me. I think the fact that I have allowed people to help me through this has opened doors of understanding and compassion. In this way accepting their service has been service to them. This is the greatest meaning there can possibly be in life.

This is why I write to you...whoever you turn out to be. Don't give up Hope. You will find meaning.

~Bridey J


  1. Beautiful post, Bridey. You've helped me multiple times. Thank you for everything.

  2. You've definitely been a part of my process :)

    Oh, and I heard that USGA people are needing someone to organize meetings for the summer. I was wondering if you'd be up for doing that. I think it'd be a great opportunity to help people.

    (And don't forget about all those classes you've talked to. I'm sure you've helped someone see things differently)