Hope

For the second time in just the matter of a few days, another blogger I like to follow wrote a blog about this thing called “hope”. Both of these bloggers see hope as a positive thing, as something that enriches our lives as long as we have it. And I have to admit, even when we don’t consciously see or feel hope, it’s an intrinsic emotion in most of us, perhaps something universal in our genetic make-up with which we are born.

The irony of the timing of these two blog posts about hope is that both of them were posted while I was reading a book called The Perfect Daughter written by Alex Stone. Based on the information about the book, it’s not the mystery/psychological thriller I usually read, but it was free in Prime Reading through Amazon Prime and something tugged at me to read it.

I don’t want to say much about the story, because it was an excellent read and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone else who might want to read it. But there was a part towards the end that stuck out to me – a conversation between two characters that caught my attention so well that I copied it, intending to use it for a future blog post. Well, it appears that the future of that blog post has come sooner than later.

The male figure speaking: “Hope is a dangerous thing. It is powerful. It makes you a powerful tool. You can achieve amazing things if you have hope. It keeps you fighting against adversity. It keeps you going when everything else tells you to give up. It lets you imagine a future that’s better than the present. A future that could be yours.”

The female figure replies: “The problem is, when you have hope you have something to lose. What happens when that future you’ve been clinging to and dreaming of shatters and dies? You die, too. Not fully. Never fully. But something inside, the part of you that kept you going, that kept you strong, withers a little.”

And I completely related to her response, to the idea that after a while, when the dreams you have keep becoming unfulfilled, time and time again, that the psyche can reach the intellectual reasoning that hope is nice while it lasts. So is an ice cube in a cold drink. But when the ice cube melts and the drink becomes warm again, watering down the drink with the melted water, you wonder if it was worth using the ice cube in the first place.

I have hope – at least I think I do. I hope that no one I love will die from COVID-19. I hope that no one I love will be killed through the senseless brutality that is sweeping our nation with no regard for life. I hope I will always be able to afford a roof over my head and food in my tummy. But the things I think we tend to hope for are all things over which we know we have zero control of. Are we hoping for those things, or are we hoping to be lucky enough to have things go the way we want them to?

I guess I just wonder if we’re pushing hope like a legal drug of sorts that makes us hallucinate and believe things we want are possible with some assurance. If 50% of the nation’s population bands together and commits to hoping that the mass shootings that are continuing to make daily headlines stop, what effect do you think they will have in making that happen? Sometimes, I wonder if we use the idea of “hope” in order to avoid the idea of “earn”, that is, I hope I pass this history test suffices for not studying. And if we don’t happen to pass because we didn’t bother to study, the only blame we have to lay on ourselves is that we shouldn’t have wasted our time and energy hoping.

Obviously, I’m all over the place on this idea of hope and its purpose. I just thought I’d share the jumble circling around in my brain about it. I look forward to any comments on this!