Lately, I have been thinking a lot about hope, and attempting to breath new life into that word, redefine it, or even let myself remember how unbelievably necessary it is in order to live well and honestly on this earth. Often times (and sometimes unfortunately so) words lose their meaning to me. Essentially, they die. And most times it is people (myself included) who are using them incorrectly and irresponsibly that kill them. So, in order to bring them back to life again, I have to strip them down, revisit them slowly, humbly and with desire.
And, to be honest, I have a hard time doing things slowly and humbly, and it takes awhile for me to gain a desire that is born out of both of those things.
I think the death of the word hope is partially due to the fact that I always considered it as a sort of synonym for optimism— a trait that has always been very far from me. Being hopeful to me meant being sort of unrealistic, closing your eyes to the inevitable disappointments that come our way. A temporary emotional bandaid that would leave us feeling stupid and alone. This understanding is unfortunate and so incorrect because it complete disregards the active and hardworking nature of hope.
Set the table just to set us free
When you look up the word hope in the dictionary, you see lots of action words. Words like expect and desire and anticipate, “to desire with expectation of obtainment, OR to cherish a desire with anticipation.” Hope is the reflection of our capacity for beauty. It is the representation of our belief that there is more coming. By hoping, we recognize the current beauty in our lives, and we acknowledge that there is more of it. We desire with the total acknowledgment of inevitable fulfillment. Hope is active and it is hardworking and hope is not easy. It’s not easy because life is full of confusion, unfulfilled desire, and grown-ups who change their mind. But we hope anyway, considering all these facts. And that is hard.
Take my love and my tendencies
In my life I have encountered so many people who are capable of so much beauty that it is almost too much to bear. Some of those people are in a band called Giants & Pilgrims, people in touch with the fact that honesty is what makes things the most beautiful, and that hope takes hard work. Their whole album “Almanac No. 1” seems to me to be this important acceptance of the dirtiness of living, and that sometimes desiring more— believing that there is more to come— is not easy but it is worth it. I listened to this album for almost entire year before I heard it for the first time, and I’m so thankful that I finally did. (Italicized words in this post are from the song “Rally Those Hopes” written by artist Tim Coons).
Our fingernails are full of dirt and hope.
Doesn’t this idea of active hope makes sense for the way we are supposed be in relationship with one another? We must love with the expectation that we will receive it, even when we have experienced the moments that we haven’t. Having considered all of the facts, we must love in a way that instills the confidence in others that there is more to come. Right?
I’ll stay with you if you stay with me.