In The Rings of Power, elven lord Elrond must make a tough decision: Will he spill his dwarf friend’s secrets, or risk the demise of his entire race?
When his king asks him to reveal information about a special raw material the dwarves may have discovered, Elrond responds: “I swore an oath to Durin. To some, that may now hold little weight. But in my esteem, it is by such things our very souls are bound. I do not intend to let mine slip away on the basis of mere hope.”
While Elrond’s aspirations are noble, king Gil-Galad then reminds him of an important truth: “Hope is never mere — even when it is meager.”
On some days, we’ll have less of a silver lining to hold on to than others. When you get fired, broken up with, or laughed out the door, hope will feel far away. In times of despair, it matters not what reignites the spark of hope — what matters is that we capture it.
If the bartender tells a funny joke while you’re sipping your third whiskey by yourself, hold on to the laughter. If a stranger smiles at you on the bus, remember the gentleness in their face. And if a kind newsstand stand owner chucks in a bubble gum for free on your way home from yet another rejection, savor every bite of the minty flavor.
Hope may sometimes elude us, but it is never really gone. Even if the only light we can find is a tea candle, it is still a flame worth kindling — for hope is never mere, and it only takes a candle to ignite the biggest fire.