Have you ever thought about the importance of “hope” and what it means in your life? It has been said that a human being can live for three months without food, for three days without water, for three minutes without air, but he can’t live for three seconds without hope. While this may stretch your imagination a bit, it nonetheless makes a very important point. Hope ... we can’t live without it.
As you ponder this a moment, I want to tell you about getting to know a wonderful lady by the name of Susie Vanderlip. Our chance meeting by email and over the phone came about when an editor of a newspaper that runs this column asked me if I would be willing to visit with her about getting her column syndicated. I’ve had many requests like this over the years and I am willing to try to help anyone if I can. As I’ve said before, it’s the only way I can ever repay the hundreds of people who have helped me.
Susie Vanderlip lives with her clinical psychologist husband, Dr. Ken Vanderlip, in Orange County, Calif. She is a graduate of UCLA where she minored in modern dance and now is an associate professor in dance at Coastline Community College, where she has taught for 12 years. Susie is also a professional speaker and author, and is one of less than 500 people in the world to earn the “Certified Speaking Professional,” the highest earned designation from the National Speakers Association.
Her life, however, has not been without tragedy. In August 1984, her first husband died of an unintentional drug overdose of alcohol, cocaine and the pain killer Percodan. Eight years after his death, Susie went into the dance studio to choreograph a piece about relationships. Over the next six months, writing, choreographing, rehearsing and Beta testing the material on a wide variety of audiences, something happened that would forever change her life. As she responded to audience questions, she felt as though God put a “burning bush” on her doorstep.
This led to the development of a program that she named “Legacy Of Hope.” Her focus today is speaking to young people and adults and guiding teens successfully through the land mines of adolescence, including alcohol and drugs, teen violence, sexuality, gangs, suicide and emotional distress. This is what her column is about and while at this point she only has one paper, she has a message that people need to hear. She is not only committed, but she has been there and done that.
From my heart I wish Susie well and will help her any way I can, but as I thought about her program — “Legacy of Hope” — and exposing teens and parents to really good concepts and insights, I also thought about what would happen in their lives as they moved on and later came into contact with many negative and evil influences. This reminded me of the overweight person who loses 30 to 50 pounds only to gain it back when they got off the diet. What they need is a great maintenance program, one they can stay on for life.
You have the right to disagree, but at this point I’m going to be bold enough to say that what we all need is “A Maintenance Program for Hope.” The only lasting and eternal hope that I know about is to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. When Jesus comes into our life, He changes us forever and our lives will never be the same again. It’s the only way to successfully deal with all those negative and evil influences that I talked about earlier.
(Editor’s Note: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)