Tracie tagged me to write a post on the subject of hope, which has been threading its way through the Internet, and I found it such a cheerful, hopeful thing to write about, I was happy to add my two cents.
Wise words were once written, “But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?”
When you think about it, it’s true. You don’t hope for something that you can see in front of you, something that you can grasp. You hope for what is just out of reach, what is almost attainable, what you believe can become a reality in your life in just a very short while.
You hope for specifics:
He will ask me to marry him this year.
This is the month I will get pregnant.
They will offer me the position this week.
My daughter will not die of leukemia, but will live a long life.
You hope for generalities:
May I be granted peace in this trying time.
Let me only be comfortable, or at least comforted.
If we can just make ends meet, then we will be secure.
May we have our health, if we have nothing else.
And you hope and hope until it seems to take so long you are ready to give up completely, if it weren’t for that tenuous thread that stretches to the illusive hope, a thread of steel that is unwilling to break.
In the words of a Proverb, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
You wait, heart-sick and weary, but you hope. You go on.
You go on when you’re living in an impoverished country with no proper medical care, and you don’t understand that your daughter has diabetes and needs insulin shots – you just understand that she’s very sick, and she’s dying, and you don’t know what to do.
You go on when you’re kneeling next to the body of your friend who was shot in the chest when the riots came down the street where you were running, and you’re trying to keep the blood in his body, the blood that gives him life, but it’s seeping out between your fingers too fast to save him.
You go on when your parents are taken away to be executed because you are Chinese nobility and living under the new Mao Tse Tung regime, and then your little brother is ripped out of your arms by the soldiers, and drowned as you stand by watching helplessly.
You go on when your breast cancer is back and you have two children and a husband to think about, and you can’t bear the idea of going through another round of chemotherapy, but you must try for life while there is still hope for it.
You go on when you are manic and the medicines are not working – they never seem to be working – but you have people who love you and rely on you so you can’t give up.
You go on when you, too, have contracted AIDS and you’re not in a country where the diagnosis can still mean many years ahead of you, but you speak out to save other women from your fate.
You go on when you’ve had countless miscarriages, and all you want is the feeling of carrying the weight of a baby full-term, giving him your milk, holding him in your arms.
You go on when you’re weighted by depression, you’re entangled in addiction, and you can barely drag your feet through another day, and suicide is just NOT AN OPTION.
You go on.
You may be heart-sick
but you go on.
You go on because of hope.
* All of the people I mentioned are real, and they are still going on because of hope.