Can Hope Survive?

Psychopaths are competing to set new records in terror. New classifications of mental illnesses are being defined so we can sympathize with perpetrators, while only further confusing victims. How can hope survive? What is there left to hope for? Instead of hoping for a richer, fuller life, are we consigned to merely hoping for a less frightening one?

If a person encounters hardship early enough in life, he may not know there is any other way of life than to suffer. He may not try to change or reach for something better because he does not know there is something more than what he has experienced thus far. Or he may think a better life is for others, but out of reach for him. Help may be there for him, but he may not recognize it when it is offered, or he wonít or canít accept it.

So how can hope survive? Where is there room for hope in this desperate world? Hope means to expect something with confidence, even without any basis for how this may come about. But can a person pattern his life after an example, or a good role model, he has never even seen? Is it not folly to create a fantasy and then try to become that fantasy? But that is not the same as following a dream.

Dreams are built on hope, reaching for things based in reality. Sometimes that reality may seem too good to be true, but at least dreams have a reality-based foundation or framework. Fantasy may be a great exercise for your imagination. But when fantasy becomes intermixed with reality, hope actually becomes a vehicle to place more and more distance between reality and fantasy. The more you hope for fantasy to become reality, the further away from reality you travel.

I have witnessed a great deal of hate. Although this has profoundly affected me, I have never hated people. People react differently to situations. Some cling to what reality has to offer. Some escape to what fantasy can never truly deliver.

I have often asked myself if I have kept going all these years with the hope that things would get better. I wanted the burden lifted from me, but I felt I was too badly damaged to lead a normal life, however you might define normal. The real tragedy wasnít as much from the initial damage, as it was from the pressure of trying to perform to the standards of other people, when in fact I had little training to know how to act or perform. I was afraid I would be forced out of relationships, if anyone were to discover I was not a ďrealĒ person, however you define real. The fear of being caught today was sometimes more stressful than any past trauma. But far too often fears are exaggerated or unfounded.

These negative feelings were reinforced by my circumstances improving and then worsening. I would start to do better just long enough to believe I could be better, only to have my hopes dashed as I took another fall. Life can be such a tease. There was this glass wall separating me from other people. We could see each other, but not interact. When we reached our hands out to each other, our hands went ďthudĒ against the glass wall. Again, life can be such a tease.

Perhaps the greatest freedom I have ever known is found when people allow me to interact with them without fear of being graded on my performance. When someone is patient enough with me, while my self confidence is being bolstered, that is the point at which the most progress can be made. Especially when he can overlook the mistakes and social blunders I make. But is it more difficult to find a patient person, or to take a risk and let him near to you?

You have been pushed, but have you ever been plucked? I have been both. We have been pushed into unthinkable situations. We had no way out. Our lives were ruined. There seemed to be no hope. We thought life was not worth living. We may get used to the push, push, push into one bad situation after another. Itís awful I know. But every now and then we are plucked from a pushed-into situation. Hope is rewarded. Dreams really do come true. We can be rescued from a hopeless situation. We can even recover from the aftermath and break through the glass wall separating us from others. But it takes patience on the part of other people, and it takes courage on our part.

All that said, what is my viewpoint on hope now? I think hope is obsolete in my life. I donít mean that I have given up and expect to be trampled. I stated previously. ďHope means to expect something with confidence, even without any basis for how this may come about.Ē I interpret ďexpectĒ to mean you are waiting for something to be or to happen. Why wait? Accept it now, work for it now. Even if you donít have it yet, claim it as your own. You already have it. You just have to remember where you last saw it. Where did you put it? Go back and get it.

Isnít that the true definition of hope? Something is so real (not in a fantasy sort of way) to you that you already have ownership of it in your life. You believe so much that it is going to happen, that it already has happened. That is not twisting reality. If you are that certain that something IS going to happen, you are just going under the assumption that you can rely on it as always being there. I donít hope for things to happen. I accept what does happen as my hopes being fulfilled. However, I do continue to make dreams for the extra things that will be gravy on the top, and icing on the cake, when I do realize them.

Can hope survive? It can if you let it. But only if you let it. As I said above, perhaps the greatest freedom I have ever known is found when people allow me to interact with them without fear of being graded on my performance. These people do exist for you too. This sounds backwards, but you have to allow THEM the freedom to work in YOUR life. That is so they can do their part. While you do yours. Itís a two-way street.

Hope DOES exist in your life. You are not doomed with no hope to be found. You WILL reap the rewards that hope has already set into motion in your life! And thereís no need to look too far into the future to find what you are expecting. Why wait?

I know it is easier to wait when waiting gets you off the hook for having to take a risk with people you meet. But they also have to take a risk with you. So why donít all of you just go ahead and get the risky scary part out of the way? And then you can get on with the good stuff!

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