Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Magic of Hope

This is probably where I lose the attention of the conservatives. Just bare with me for a moment. I LOVE Barack Obama. Granted, he has lost some of his luster since the early days when even I mistook him for the second coming of Christ. But still, he's an impressive man with a fascinating background, beautiful family, superior intellect, and reflective demeanor.

But this isn't really about Obama. At least not directly. I'm curious about our fascination with hope. Of course, hope has always been an overarching theme of Obama's campaign, but he certainly wasn't the first, or the last. Bill Clinton and Mike Huckabee both proclaimed themselves the men from Hope (Arkansas). Ronald Reagan's famous "Morning in America" ad was basically about hope. In pop culture, Star Wars: Episode IV is titled "A New Hope". A Google search for "Hope" returned 83,100,000 results. There's the movie Hope Floats, the old soap opera Ryan's Hope, the Hope Diamond, an incredibly large number of organizations use HOPE as an acronym or part of a 1-800 phone number, and even the Olivia Newton-John song "Hopelessly Devoted to You"!

So why? Hope implies that there's something wrong with the way things are now. Just looking at references to hope from the last 50 years you'd have to conclude that something is perpetually wrong with the world (or at least the US). Since the word hope appears in the Bible between 120 and 160 times depending on the translation I'm guessing that humanity's want for hope extends at least a few thousand years.

I would describe my first 32 years of life as definitively without hope. I hated the world and was sure it hated me back. Relationships would never last very long. I had a bunch of dead end jobs. By a rough calculation I'd estimate I had thoughts of suicide on around 10,000 separate moments. I seriously considered acting on the thoughts at least two dozen times, and I've had to resist the sudden urge to jerk my car into a concrete divider or oncoming traffic perhaps a hundred times. For some reason I never commited suicide. And I guess that reason was hope. No matter how horrible my life got I always had this dream that things could get better if I just lived long enough to see it happen. Well, that's not completely true, but you'd think I was nuts if I told you what I really was thinking. Suffice it to say, it had something to do with Einstein's theory of infinite universes.

So, I think hope is that thing which keeps us alive. Without a hope that things will get better we'd probably kill ourselves or the people around us. And the thing is, hope isn't that hard to find. Some people find it through religion, others through science, or, in my case, through my imagination. If your life is without hope don't give up. Keep looking until you find what it is you need to see you through. Start thinking of life as a game: You win if you survive long enough to beat it. And, as long as you're alive, that thing which will bring you hope is out there waiting for you to find it, even if sometimes that thing ends up feeling like a kick to the face.

Have fun, and keep living life... because it's the only way to win!

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...