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.

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5 Responses to Hope

  1. Anonymous says:

    OK – so now the question is… what are those dreams you want to come true?

  2. Beth says:

    All of them, anon! 🙂 You wanna list?

  3. Julie says:

    It’s funny that this is your topic today, because it has been in my head (thinking about hope) a lot these days and very strongly this morning. When I think of the word hope, my mind goes to the strong, emotional words I heard on a DVD some years ago… and I believe it is the crying call of all humanity. It is the image of Beth Moore, clutching her fist to her chest and proclaiming that hope is the last thing one clings to. “Don’t take away my hope!”, she exclaims. It is when humans totally lack hope that we have no reason feel alive any longer. Hope is what keeps anyone going. Even just a smidgin of it.

    And, for those lost dreams. Sometimes they are lost because we were too lazy to try for them, too scared to try for them, or they just weren’t the real road to follow. The last example would be like for idol love (say of a teenage girl -or old woman for that matter!- for a heart-throb actor). Seems nice, but the reality isn’t there. But, as I have grown older, I have seen that the reality I have lived has served its purpose, even if it wasn’t my perfect scenario. And, I truly hope that unfulfilled dreams may actually come true before we leave this Earth, as I have seen it happen to others. 🙂

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