A Different Perspective on Hope.

My wedding ring was made by Mr Hope in Birmingham.  It wasn’t new, but I liked the colour of the old soft gold, and it was made in the year of my mother’s birth, and we bought it in a nice friendly jeweller’s shop in a seaside town.   Mr Hope traded under the name ‘Hopeful’.

I’ve traded under that name a lot too – always hoping, always optimistic.

I was thinking about what I really mean when I “hope” that something happens.  I think I really mean that I “want” something to happen, and so, in a way, I am trying to control the future, wanting it to turn out according to my plan.

Seeing Hope like that suddenly makes Hope seems not such a good thing at all, at least not in all circumstances.  Because my plan for the future may be vastly different from someone else’s plan and imposing my hopes on them may feel as if I am controlling their destiny.

Sometimes I have hoped, and hoped, and hoped.  By which I mean I have really wanted something to happen.  But it hasn’t.  And it hasn’t happened because another person didn’t want it to.  Then I feel hopeless.  Or perhaps that is another way of saying that I feel sad because I have not got what I wanted.

Sometimes I hope for ridiculous things that no reasonable person would think would be likely to happen.  Sometimes I want something to happen that any sane person knows is never going to happen.  Sometimes I go on hoping far longer than I should.  I should have realised that the other person involved did not want the same thing as me, and so my desire or my hope was always going to be thwarted.  I think that sometimes I go on hoping or wanting because it hurts less than accepting that the other person does not want the same thing too.  I think it was a habit that I acquired in childhood which is not very healthy now.

Sometimes I just go on banging on the same door, over and over again, when it is locked and bolted and padlocked and forever shut to me.  I think I somehow thought it was virtuous to keep on hoping that the door would open.

Now I think differently.  If the other person wants the door to remain closed, and I want it opened, then there is a battle of wills.  And I’m going to lose because whether or not the door opens is not something I can control.  I can bang on the door all I want, it is not going to open unless the other person wants it to and all of my hope is not going to make the slightest difference, and so I need to go away and grieve, and cry, and ache and eventually get over it.

I think it would be better to save my hope for things that I stand half a chance of being able to influence.


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