It was a small woman who came down the dusty dirt road. She seemed quite old, but her gait was light, and her smile had the fresh glow of a carefree young girl. Next to a huddled figure, she stopped and looked down. She could not recognise much. The being sitting in the dust at the road side seemed almost disembodied, resembling a gray flannel blanket with human contours.The little woman bent down a little and asked:“Who are you?” Two almost lifeless eyes wearily gazed up. “I? I am Sadness”, the voice whispered so haltingly and quietly that it was barely audible. “Oh, Sadness!,” the little woman cried out as pleased as if she was greeting an old friend. “You know me?,” asked puzzled Sadness. “Of course I know you! Time and again you accompanied me along parts of the way. “” Yes, but … “, Sadness was suspicious, ” why do’nt you flee from me? Aren’t you afraid?, “” Why should I run away from you, my love! You know yourself only too well that you catch every fugitive. But what I want to ask you: Why do you look so discouraged?”” I…I am sad,” replied the grey figure with a broken voice.
The tiny old woman sat down beside her. “So, sad is what you are”, she said, nodding sympathetically with the head. “Tell me what is making you so depressed.” Sadness sighed deeply. Is it true that someone really wanted to listen this time? How often had she wished for that. “Oh, you know,” she began hesitantly and very astonished, “obviously no one likes me. It happens to be my destiny to go among the people and dwell with them for some time. But when I come to them they cringe. They are afraid of me and avoid me like the plague.” Sadness swallowed hard. “They invented phrases with which they want to ban me. They say: Shut up, life is serene. And their false laughter leads to stomach cramps and shortness of breath. They say , blessed is what makes you harder. And then they get heart pain. They say: You just have to get your act together. And then they feel the tearing in their shoulders and back. They say: Only weaklings cry. And the pent-up tears almost blow their heads. Or they numb themselves with alcohol and drugs, so they do not have to feel.” “Oh yes”, confirmed the old woman, ” I’ve often encountered such people aswell. ”
Sadness fell a little more into herself. ” And I just want to help people. When I am very close to them, they can encounter themselves. I help them to build a nest to nurse their wounds. The sad have a very thin skin. When suffering breaks open, like a badly healed wound, it hurts a lot. Only those who accept the sadness and cry all the unshed tears can really heal their wounds. But people do not want me to help them with this. Instead, they put on a makeup of harsh laughter on their scars. Or they put on a thick armor of bitterness . ” Sadness was silent. At first her crying was only weak, then more and finally full of despair. The little old woman held the crumpled figure comfortingly in her arms. “How soft and gentle she feels”, she thought, and gently stroked the quivering bundle. “Cry, Sadness,” she whispered lovingly, “rest, so that you can gather strength again. You shall not walk alone from now on. I will accompany you so that discouragement will not gain more power.” Sadness stopped crying. She sat up, astonished and looked at her new companion: “But … but – who are you?”
“I?” Said the little old woman with a smile, and then she smiled as carelessly as a little girl again. “I am Hope.”