My practical analytical down-to-earth no-nonsense wry-humored (handsome) husband once said to me: “If you didn’t get your hopes up so much, you wouldn’t get so disappointed.”
I don’t know about that philosophy. It sounds pretty hope-less to me.
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An American Psychological Association article by Kirsten Weir, “Mission Impossible,” indicates that optimism and hope are closely related, but “while optimism is a general feeling that good things will happen, hope tends to be focused on specific goals.”
I’m an uber-optimist, but that optimism is not sitting around wishing something would happen; it’s a roll-up-my-sleeves-and-work-in-the-direction-of-the-goal type of hope.
From my experience, here are at least 7 great reasons to carry hope around with us:
1. Hope teaches patience.
It’s not a healthy thing to get everything we want when we want it. In our first year of marriage, I read an article about the government allotting acreage in Alaska to those hardy souls who could build a home and settle there. I tried to talk Hubby into homesteading in Alaska. “It sounds so romantic, so adventurous!” I enthused. “So cold,” deadpanned Gary.
If we hope and plan—my Alaska dream involved no planning, just uninformed wishful thinking—and if we work toward the hope and plan, then we learn patience. And patience will serve us well the rest of our lives.
2. Hope equips us with resilience.
With each bit of hope, hope dashed, hope resurrected (which is our choice, this resurrection of hope) and then dashed again; with each not giving up, we become more resilient. And resilience comes in handy in so many areas of life.
3. Hope instills strength.
When we hope and persevere, we become stronger, more bold, audacious, fearless, better prepared for the next venture.
4. Hope trains in courage.
I walked beside Hubby toward his death, carrying hope in my heart that I will see him again in heaven, hope that there could still be purpose to the remaining days of my life without him, even though this is not how I would have written this season as we approached retirement with so much energy and creativity and passion to change our corner of the world.
5. Hope helps with the re-purposing when our lives take a turn we hadn’t planned.
When Hubby died, all the hopes and dreams I carried with him also died. But since that time, an unforeseen adventurous unimaginable re-purposing has taken shape. And I can’t wait to see all that God has for me in these widow years.
This from Mary Oliver:
Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.
6. Hope leads to a more risky life.
Wait, isn’t risky a negative thing? Yes, if there’s a guy who wants you to invest your life savings in a steam-powered computer. But if we’re talking about living a more challenging, adventurous, daring, alive life, then risk is a good thing.
If, for example, we risk opening our hearts to someone, they may or may not return our love. If we don’t take that risk, though, then we risk a life without love. And which is worse? The possibility of a broken heart, or a love-less life?
7. Hope becomes the light in the dark.
When the days turn hard and unkind and bleak, holding bravely onto hope shines a light on the intense dark.
My hopes were dashed into dozens of shatters on the floor and I scooped them up and arranged them into a new design but some of the pieces fell again, and I retrieved them and did some more rearranging and what has emerged is an imperfectly gorgeous mosaic that I hope can be of benefit to others.
Andy Sixx said this: “Take too many pictures, laugh too much and love like you’ve never been hurt because every sixty seconds you spend upset is a minute of happiness you’ll never get back.”
I would rewrite it to say:
Linger too long over Chai tea with friends. Hike too many trails. Write too many encouraging notes. Express too much gratitude. Hope too much. Because every sixty seconds you don’t is a minute of happiness you’ll never get back.
What are you hoping for?
P.S. If you know someone who could use a nudge toward hope, please share, tweet or pin!