Hope is a funny thing. The dictionary defines it as: ”the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best”
Let me digress here–I want to split hairs for just one moment. I argue that the belief that events will turn out for the best is more about faith and trust, whereas hope is the desire that what is wanted can be had. Because what we want isn’t always what’s for the best.
But let me get back to hope now. It’s a powerful thing. It keeps us moving forward. It injects positivity in our lives. It puts a lift in our step. It helps us shape our goals–a bigger house, our own business, a promotion, love, a clear bill of health. It keeps us going.
Humans–we’re funny things too. We hope against hope. I remember a few years ago, an ex-boyfriend wanted to reconcile. Give it another try. I talked with a friend about this, and how even though my heart wanted to, I didn’t think I could because I’d be a real idiot to go another round with this one. I knew he had not changed and the dynamics would remain the same. And that despite how I felt about him, it would never work out in the end. I asked her why on earth would I try this again? She said simply and softly, “We all need hope.” I had long ago grown afraid of hope.
She’s right–we all need hope. It’s not a bad thing. It’s also not a rational thing. My daughter takes ballet classes. She is not particularly skilled, and doesn’t have a passion for dance. But she always asks to continue with classes. I ask her why, because quite honestly I’m cheap and would love to save the money. And I’m not too keen on running around to one more activity. She dances for two reasons–one is that she gets to wear makeup at her recital (this has turned out to be a very expensive makeup session).
The other reason is that she bonded with her very first instructor from two years ago. Ms. Melissa. She is constantly asking for Ms. Melissa. Each session, the studio tells her she will not get Ms. Melissa again as an instructor because she no longer teaches there. Every week, my little girl hopes against hope. For some reason, the hope inside her has not died, and she hopes that maybe, just maybe, today will be the day she’ll see Ms. Melissa again. After each class, she’s a little crestfallen, reporting that in fact she did not have Ms. Melissa. But she’ll look forward to next week…
I’ve stopped reminding her that her hope makes no sense. I’ve stopped trying to explain rationally how this works. I’ve stopped explaining how her hopes are futile. Because there’s nothing worse than extinguishing someone’s light inside. It doesn’t have to make sense. I don’t want her to learn to despair. I want her to learn resilience and practice hoping. It’s a beautiful thing, that elusive, irrational hope. It keeps us alive. And dancing.