On Hope

May 21, 2009 · 1 comment

I talk to a lot of people who are working on enlarging their spiritual life.  One topic that often comes up in conversation is that of hope.  I sometimes have a hard time relating.  In a way, I can analogize it to the concept of faith, but I still see the two as being different creatures.

Maybe it’s my Y chromosome talking, but hope sounds too care-bearish to me.  It’s too fluffy and nice.  Like wishful thinking.  I’m all for thinking positively, but I’m not into naivete.

The closest I’ve been able to get to a concept of hope in my own life is a confidence that I’ll be able to handle whatever future situations I encounter.  Which I suppose isn’t too bad for a man lacking in faith

To me, hope sounds too much like dependence.  Like the whole footprints in the sand piece.  Don’t get me wrong – I dig the poem.  It’s just that if hope is the faith that whatever happens, god will pick me up and carry me through the tough stuff, I’m not so much down for that.  I’d rather believe that when the rough patches come along, I’ll be ok – that I’ll be able to be proactive in whatever situations I find myself and come out on top.  I just can’t get with the notion that if I just hang on, god will carry me through.  It’s too passive for me.

Without being all egoistic, I prefer to look back on the rough patches I’ve experienced in life as reference points for current and future situations.  If I made it through some rough shiz in the past, I can certainly make it through whatever seems tough right now.  I don’t look back and say “wow, there’s no way I could’ve made it through that without god carrying me”.  I look back and say “wow, that sucked; I’m glad I made it through”.

Now, I’m fairly certain that it’s my ego/pride that keep me from a true relationship or conscious contact with a higher power, but what can I do?  That’s just the way I am.  I’m certainly trying to get to a place of faith, but not if it means losing myself in the process.  Which, I suppose, is kind of a tautology – or, probably more correctly a kind of spiritual paradox.  For what’s the path to conscious contact with god but through destruction of the self? 

Anyway, I’m still a long way off, but I’m getting there.  I pray regularly, though to what I have no idea.  I just know that it helps.  I work on ego-deflation on a regular basis and I’m a lot closer to humility than I once was.  So I guess that’s the best I can do right now.  It’s really all a journey anyway – not a series of destinations.

Again, for me, hope amounts to a confidence that I’ll be able to handle the rough patches ahead.  Things are good right now, and I’m enjoying that.  They may suck later on (if only for a bit), but based on past experience, the rough shiz hasn’t killed me yet.  As my buddy Friedrich Nietzsche once said “That which does not kill me only serves to make me stronger”.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

DarthTraya May 21, 2009 at 17:29

Hope comes in many forms, and it is far more than wishful thinking. For hope to come, there must be action and sometimes decisive action will be required.

Think of hope as opportunity if you want to. It will come, but its merely going to get your foot in the door. You will be required to do the actual work to get your goals realized.

We differ on matters of faith, and that is fine. It is very good that you work on humility, we all should. There are far too many people wrapped up in their own egos and the happy little fog that is their own lives. Such thinking is dangerous, as most do not pay attention to the world around them. Any Police Officer will tell you that is how victims are made, by not paying attention.

I tend to subscribe to the theory that God never gives us more than we can handle. Sometimes the only one who does show faith in us is God. Even in our darkest moments in life. And more importantly, even when we don’t believe in ourselves.

Hope is not Care Bearish. In Washington, DC at the Law Enforcement Memorial at the very beginning of the memorial. Bearing the names of every man and woman Police Officer to die in the line of duty in this country. There is an inscription: In Valor, there is Hope.


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