“The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.” ~Charles DuBois
As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t always find it easy to hope. It’s much too easy for those hopes to be crushed, so it seems safer not to allow myself to hope. In fact, I suspect most people who know me would say that I am a pessimist on account of this tendency, but it’s all an attempt at self-protection. Unfortunately for me, I tend toward optimism and hope in my subconscious even when I appear to be entirely pessimistic on the surface. The last 24 hours or so have provided plenty of proof of the insidious nature of hope even when I thought it dead.
There is something that needs to happen in my future that I have been reasonably sure (based on over four decades of interaction with the primary players in the situation) would lead to an outcome that I would prefer to avoid. As I have expressed my concern over this potential outcome, I’ve gotten feedback from other people that I was “awfulizing” the situation and needed to approach it with greater optimism. Even though I was not consciously influenced by this encouragement to be more positive, I apparently subconsciously had begun to hope that they were right, that I was just being a negative Nelly, and that it would turn out much better than I anticipated. After spending some time in conversation with the most important player in this particular drama yesterday, it became quite obvious that my initial prediction about the situation is most likely accurate. Although I am not at all surprised by this, I am surprised by the depth of my sadness at being right. I had begun to hope without even knowing that I was doing it. The flicker of hope had survived hidden somewhere inside.
My day today continued with a myriad of smaller hopes being unexpectedly dashed. I am struggling tonight to find a way to maintain any optimism or hope for the next round of change that I see rapidly approaching on the horizon. It’s been such a year of body blows, one after the other. So many hopes dashed, so many painful changes. How do I gear myself up to hope again?
How do I keep moving ahead and trying to find personal growth in this chaos?
How many body blows can even the most seasoned fighter take before she goes down for the count?
How do I know which hit is going to be the one that is one too many?
And yet, the undefeated (yet well-hidden) optimist in me still whispers in my ear even now:
What if that fatal blow is needed to completely destroy my life as I know it so that, like the Phoenix who is utterly consumed by the flames, I can create a new life out of the ashes?
What if it is only through the final sacrifice of all that I am and all that I know that I will find the path to becoming the me I am meant to be?
What if my real hope lies not in finding a way to keep going under this barrage but instead in giving up?
What if that unquenchable flame of hope is right that it’s time to stop holding on to all I’ve hoped for before and time to create new hopes and dreams?
Even though it means risking that I may sacrifice who I am without a new life rising from the ashes, is this the only true path of hope?
What if it is? Can I still muster enough courage and strength to walk this journey through the chrysalis?
Can I hope enough in the death of hope to keep going?