I’ve been thinking about hope, and how it can be both good and bad.
There’s a saying:
Man can live about forty days without food,
About three days without water,
About eight minutes without air,
But only one second without hope.
So obviously, hope in this case is a good thing. When you hope for something, there’s the belief that it can happen. Oftentimes it’s not a sure thing; otherwise, we’d anticipate something instead of hope for it. But there’s that breathless expectation, the quickening of a pulse, the imagination that soars when thinking about what could be. We all hope for better days, for our dreams to come true, to win the lottery or find true love or live a long and healthy life. And it’s that hope that sometimes is all that keeps us putting one foot in front of the other, keeps us getting up on days when all we want to do is bury our heads and hide. It’s hope that lifts us, excites us, carries us, soothes us. Gives us reason to go on another day.
But there’s a bad side to it, too. Because by the very nature of hope, there’s a chance it won’t happen. But sometimes we choose to ignore that part of hope, and blindly forge ahead toward a uncertain future. And when the dream dies, or the future falls apart, we’re crushed. We had such high hopes. We almost wish that we’d never hoped because then we wouldn’t be disappointed. That joy that we felt when we imagined the anticipated outcome is replaced with disappointment, sorrow – hopelessness.
But which is better? Maybe the saying, “It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” holds true here. Maybe it’s better to have hoped and been disappointed than never to have hoped at all. Hopefully (no pun intended) there’s a residual effect of having hope in the first place. Hopefully the joy it brought lingers, casts a light on our souls that lasts until the next bout of hope appears.
Hope is a drug. Maybe penicillin or maybe heroin, but still a drug.
In spite of the potential downsides of it, Pollyanna chooses to hope. Because, like chocolate and tequila, the world would be a sadder place without it. And Pollyanna believes that one day, all of her dreams will come true.