I tend to think of hope in an optimistic light. Hope is what gets us through hard times. However, recently I heard hope in a different context- hope actually in the context of making things feel harder. At first I was like, “what?!” The person said that hope can make it difficult to feel okay when you don’t have an end date during times of uncertainty.
The pandemic is a great example- we don’t know when or if we will go back to normal. We don’t know when it will end. There’s a lot of uncertainty. If we keep hoping that it’ll change soon, we might start feeling anxious or discouraged. I keep hearing people using the end of 2020 as an end date for the pandemic, but that is likely not the case. The hope of the pandemic ending is certainly on all of our minds, but how do we have a relationship with hope so we can feel optimistic and not discouraged when we really don’t know what will come next?
In Shawshank Redemption, Morgan Freeman says, “Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.” But also quoted in the movie: “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
Buddhist nun Pema Chodron says, “We hold on to hope, and hope robs us of the present moment.”
Pema Chodron’s quote helped me understand my thoughts around hope. I’m a very hopeful person and I am an optimist, believing that the next best thing is around the corner. But sometimes that corner takes time to find. Sometimes you have to just sit in the muck and discomfort and the waiting. But if you get too caught up in looking forward and hoping for the future, you miss what’s going on right in front of your nose. Even though times can be hard, there are always good things in the muck.