So, today’s word prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday (#SoCS) is “hope“.
I just wrote a poem earlier this week for the Pic and a Word Challenge that I entitled, “leaving hope behind”, prompting a friend or two to inquire, “Are you doing ok?”
Hope is a funny thing. It so often disappoints. And I’m sort of tired of being disappointed, to be honest. I mean, I haven’t kept an Excel spreadsheet or anything to actually track which hopes have been disappointed and which have come to pass, but it FEELS right now like a ratio that is enough out of whack to merit some scrutiny.
Hope, to me (without doing a dictionary dive), is basically “waiting for a desired outcome”. This is entirely different from “faith”, in my opinion, which I’ll address in a bit. Actually, no, I’ll address it now: Faith, (again, to me, without a dictionary dive) is a deep certainty that everything shall eventually be as it should be. This, I think, is WAY healthier than hope. Perhaps I should qualify that with a “way healthier for me”.
For me, if I hope for something, I automatically overlay it with the assumption that I can somehow engineer that “hope” into existence, and I am inevitably disappointed when I can’t and it doesn’t. I find myself with a couple options: 1) lower the expectations of what I hope for, or 2) stop hoping and live TODAY, allowing tomorrow to be what it will be. This is where faith steps in for me: If I allow tomorrow to “be what it will be”, I live today with a deep certainty that TODAY is what matters, and tomorrow will work itself out. That can look and sound intensely selfish, foolish, and counter to EVERYTHING society teaches us about “goal setting”.
Guess what – I don’t care.
Or, I guess I should say, I care a lot less than I used to, and I’m continuing to lessen the hold the “tyranny of tomorrow” has held over me for half a century.
And, for my Christian friends out there (of which I know you are many), lest you think this all sounds rebellious and irresponsible:
Do Not Worry
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.Matthew 6:25-34 – NRSV
That’s Jesus. So there.
But Ben, what about “Failing to Plan means Planning to Fail”? I guess I would counter that with this: As soon as I “plan”, I set myself up to “expect” either success or failure based on that “plan”, and “planning” (for me – again, I hesitate to speak for anyone else) means I take upon myself the responsibility for that eventual success or failure, including all of the things that are COMPLETELY OUTSIDE OF MY CONTROL. This, I think I can say for ALL OF US, is not healthy, because it is not rational. One cannot be responsible for things one cannot control. And yet, how many of us do that?
And that, in a convoluted nutshell, is why “Hope” scares me. It takes things within my control and out of my control and puts them “out there” for me to wait for, worry about, and most importantly (and unhealthily), to try and manipulate into existence.
I simply don’t have the energy for that anymore.
I will take today, and the ample “trouble” it brings (to paraphrase Jesus), do my best to make the best decisions and take the best actions on what is in front of me, and trust that tomorrow will be as it should be.
That, hopefully, is something onto which I can continue to faithfully hold.
#SoCS comes from the website of Linda G. Hill.
Here are the rules:
1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing (typos can be fixed), and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.
2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.