It goes like this.
The Devil has a garage sale. The crowd is interested but not big. He isn’t, after all, too popular. I stop in, against my better judgement. Curiosity nudging me along, I peer and poke over the collection of old tools – a trowel, a broken car part declared repairable, a stack of folded work rags. And so on, items in a tempting scramble. Then I spy a peculiar tool, a prettily shaped item. It draws me.
“What can it be? What’s this for?” I asked the attendant. I pick it up, and stroke it. Suddenly I feel odd, unhappy.
“Oh, that,” replies the attendant (a demon? Satan has millions of helpers). “That’s been old Nick’s favorite tool of all – he’s used it so much he’s about worn it out and is dumping it for a new one.”
“So… what is it?” I ask.
“That particular tool is, well, Depression,” he replies. “He finds it most useful.”
As I hold it, a pall of hopelessness settles on my shoulders, slowing my movements. Like an invisible cape, it covers my head, almost hanging over my eyes. My mind slumps into a moist, sad quagmire of tears, I’m assaulted by everything I ever did wrong, hateful thoughts dive-bombing me with every slight I ever suffered, every pain and disappointment I ever suffered. Who am I, to think I can do anything? I’m worthless.
Horrified I throw the object at the floor, but it doesn’t fall.
Despair overwhelms me. The demon titters.
A person next to me starts to reach for it – I grab her arm to defeat the motion.
Surprised, she looks at me, then smiles kindly. My depression lifts like a soft feather and vanishes.
“Wow. How can that be?” I wonder, puzzled. “Such a gripping mood gone like mist. A mere smile from a stranger… and I’m back.”
“Let’s get out of here!” She touches my arm and leads me away.
The power of that smile, the power of kindness. In a blink despair is gone.
“Who are you?” I ask.
Her eyes twinkle. “My name is Hope.”