Five years ago, while studying abroad in London, I came across this painting at the Tate Britain museum, and I fell in love:
Its title is simply, "Hope." It was painted by George Frederic Watts in 1897. It might not look like much to you, but allow me to explain why it has since become my favorite painting.
The image depicts a ragged young woman sitting on top of a dreary world playing a harp. Her clothes are tattered, her eyes are bandaged (suggesting that she is blind), and only one string remains intact on her instrument. She tenderly plucks it, head bent close, as if she can hardly hear anymore either. It is unclear what struggle this woman has faced that has brought her so low, but I am continually touched by her will to hold on to whatever beauty is left in her life, even if it is only a simple note from a harp.
I aspire to be like this woman--to remember to hold on when all else around me might seem dark. It is not a false dream of a better life; it is the anchor of a sure knowledge that there is beauty in all of life's experiences and that the Lord loves each of us. May I trust Him as much as he has trusted me. No matter what my future may bring, I will always cling to HOPE.