There’s a saying, printed on canvass, that hangs in my office. It reads, “Hope is a joyful expectation of good.” I’ve been contemplating that for some time now. I look at it, longingly, needless to say, each time I go into my office.
We shouldn’t give up the hope of good things to come for us or those we care for. No matter what they are. Even something as small as that you hope the cupcakes your baking don’t burn. Or that your new sweater doesn’t stretch out of shape in the wash.
Then we have those big ones. The hopes of better jobs, raises in pay, the completion of a first-draft novel, retirement in a better place. Maybe there’s the hope that your number will come in at the Roulette table, or that your square wins big on your office Superbowl bet. Or even bigger, that your body will be healed of aches, pains, or disease. Or that your mind will be healed of some ailment that your heart bares heavily…or the lack of said hope.
I find that when one finally gives up on hope is when their losses to challenges stack up. The jar full of hopelessness-es becomes a teetering tower. Sometimes, unfortunately, our tower of losses comes crashing down. And where do we go from there?
Some people do not have to fight cancer, or homelessness, or starvation to run out of hopes. Everyone has their own battles and we should not down others because someone else “has it worse than you.” No one’s failures, regrets or letdowns belong to another, and therefore cannot be understood by any other. We can sympathize, empathize, berate, hold up or slap down…but we cannot fully understand.
If you feel there is no more hope, that you have lost the last bit – don’t believe it. Do not let your mind convince you. Keep looking. Look under the bed, in a high school photo, in a book, in an old shoe box…just look. Pet a dog, listen to birds sing…watch the snow fall. But look.
A long time ago, I heard a mother tell her child to “not hope for things she can never achieve.” I call bull shit! Why? I have many hopes…dreams…that I may never – will never – achieve. But I keep them. I keep them to remind me that it can be done, and if not by me, by someone else. Fuck off, naysayers. That’s what I say.
But, yes, it’s such a heart boost to achieve a hope…such as a goal, or a life’s dream…or as something as simple as saving enough money for new shoes. They can be all sorts of things from learning to throw a ball to making a winning touchdown on Superbowl day, to baking your first “from scratch” cake to meeting and cooking with Rachel Ray, from writing an A+ school essay to writing for Time or Rolling Stone; from overcoming a sprained ankle to beating a deadly disease, or from overcoming a fear of spiders…to stepping down from a building’s ledge after a suicidal thought.
Hope is all we have when we find ourselves deep in the great abyss of losses or even choices. When we’ve lost it all or screwed it up…or someone did that for us…and there’s no person around at 1:00 A.M. to console us, there’s hope (and maybe your cat). Hope is there, smiling upon us, trying to show us the barely-there light burning at the end of a long-ass tunnel of treachery. Hope is reflected in the eyes of your deceased grandmother’s last photo, in the hoot of an owl, or in the colors of a rainbow, in the memory of how a song makes you feel, or the in the moves of an adrift feather.
Thanks for reading, and may your hopes be fulfilled.