Hope is Not a Luxury

Hope is many things. It is fickle, it is bright and shiny, it is a “thing with feathers.” But it is not a luxury. Rather, it is affordable in every situation. There is always room for hope.

Don’t believe me? Let’s try something out:

When you live your life without hope…

Well, let’s stop right there. You can’t live your life without hope. It is impossible to be alive without it. Because let’s just say that you didn’t have hope. Then you would be consumed by the idea that you will die tomorrow or the day after. Really, hope keeps us alive by telling us that we have another day to try again, even when we eventually don’t.

So, okay. Now, you may think that hope is a liar. Which, I think, is how many people perceive hope. We’re uncomfortable, awkward ex-lovers with hope. We say, well, I don’t want my feelings to get hurt. So, I might as well believe the opposite is going to happen so that I don’t have to be upset when the thing I want doesn’t happen. I’d prefer to be “realistic.”

Except, that is akin to telling the ice cream store employee that you have never been to his or her store before and that you love chocolate ice cream, but you should probably just order vanilla because you’re not really sure if the store offers chocolate. Ridiculous, right? Why don’t you just ask? If they don’t have chocolate, you can get vanilla. And if they do, well, you see where this is going. But it doesn’t hurt to ask if they have chocolate. And it doesn’t hurt to hope for this outcome, either. Hope is a lot like asking for chocolate ice cream because it is your favorite, even if you don’t know if you will get it or not.

Because, essentially, hope keeps us happy (like ice cream). Hope is something that we can hang our hats on, so to speak, at the end of a long day. It’s the little voice inside our head that says, let’s try again tomorrow, shall we? Even when we’re really tired of our situation, we have hope that our circumstances will change, or we will find the courage to change them ourselves. We keep going because of hope.

Now, back to my biggest problem with people and hope. Hope, some seem to think, is only for the very rich in life. That is, the people who have reason to hope. They believe they have a good shot at something because they are smart, talented, strong, etc. But hope isn’t picky. Hope likes a long shot, an underdog, or a bad set of odds.

The reason? There is nothing to be lost or gained by hope. It simply exists. It is the string tugging the wakeboard forward after a speeding boat. It is pulled by the momentum of something else, and it pulls you farther along by how tight you can hold on. It does not care whether you are still on the board or in the water. It will keep going as long as it can. But will you?

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