Hope has long been a friend of mine. As a depressed teenager, the thing that most kept my spirits up was the anticipation of the next youth group event, or date with a girlfriend. Whatever the reasons for my current sadness, the future was a question mark, and sometimes question marks are amazing.
As a young adult, my hope was smaller in scope. During long days at work, my hope was in an evening of video games, or the dinner I planned to make later. My life was a series of small hopes followed by small victories, and nearly all the days were good days.
My early thirties expanded my hopes to the distant world, and the supernatural. Maybe God could be found again. Maybe the latest social justice cause had a light at the end of the tunnel. Each day had the possibility of far-reaching improvement, and I looked forward to participating in it. When social justice asked me to shun people who thought differently than me, my hope in people led me to put my efforts elsewhere. For a long time, I thought my hope was well placed.
These days I struggle to find hope most of the time. Because humans are as weak as we are, we betray our better intentions. We’ll abandon real people in our physical lives in favor of idolized people thousands of miles away. We’ll repeat the mistakes of our ideological opponents, changing the labels, but keeping the logical errors. We’ll allow ourselves to be emotionally affected by the sorrows of people we can’t help, and will never meet, but we’ll never learn that our neighbor has a lost a partner, or that our postal carrier got a promotion. It’s as if our technological evolution has surpassed our mind’s ability to cope with everything our eyes can see, and we’re paying the price for it. I don’t know how to process daily doses of disappointment. In myself. In others.
I want my hope back. I want to believe that events and people and organizations matter. I want to believe that light is real, and that I’m capable of finding it. It seems absurd to be hoping for hope. But maybe recognizing the circular motion of it all is the first step in making it real.