A Reason To Keep Swimming – You Don’t Have To Be A Drowned Rat

Ok - I get that the first blog post I have written in months should probably not be about drowning rats - yet here we are.

And what, you might ask, do rats of any kind have to do with Hope?

As it turns out, in the pre-animal rights era of the 1950s, a scientist at John Hopkins did a cruel, yet impactful study on rats. It was called, of all things, the Hope Experiment.

There are a few different versions of the experiment, but I’ll try to spare the brutal details with the condensed version. Hang in there with me, there is a lesson to learn.

For the first round, rats were put into a bucket of water to see how long they would attempt to tread water to stay alive. The time was about 15 minutes.

In the second round, just before they were about to give up, they were rescued. Dried off.

Allowed to recoup a bit. Then they were put back into the bucket.

This time, they swam longer, harder. They fought on. Endured. Caught a second wind and kept the faith.

Do you want to guess the average time they lasted the second go-round? One hour? Four? Try 60!!

So what was the difference between the 15-minute rats and the 2+ day team?


Once they had been saved, they kept going because they knew there was a chance of walking on dry land again!

(I wonder if this is where the movie Hope Floats got its name??) Sorry, I had to ask.

Now I understand the cruel nature of the experiment, and I’m sure such research would not be conducted at such a prestigious university today, but the conclusion is hard to ignore.

Hope is a very powerful weapon.

Do You Feel Like You Are Drowning?

I know I do sometimes. The waves just keep coming and I’m convinced they are going to drag me under to stay. Treading life’s emotional water is exhausting and it’s easy to feel like I’m all alone out there.

But I also know I have reasons to keep swimming. And when my strength is almost gone, I hold on to


What are some things that you might do to maintain Hope and keep swimming?

Embrace (Or Find) Your Faith

God is the original manifestation of Hope and the word is used 129 times in the Bible. In fact, the verse on my website declares that He plans to give us "hope and a future". (Jer. 29:11).

One's faith is a very personal decision and I would not dare dictate how it should look for you. I can only encourage you to look beyond yourself for the help and healing that comes from a relationship with your soul's creator.

Get Out In Nature

Speaking of creation, get outside and get it all over you. (Brownie points if you know what movie that's from.)

There is something refreshing and calming about being outside. Whether you prefer the soothing sound of water, the fragrance of radiant blooms, the sweeping vistas of the hills, or the quiet of the sunrise or sunset, there is a stillness to being in touch with nature.

Explore Your Talents/Strengths

I don't care what anyone has ever told you (or what you have told yourself), there is something you are good at. You have a talent. A gift. A strength. Find it. Use it!

When you tap into what makes you unique, you will find your swimming superpower. GIfts look different on everyone. Some are obv