I used to believe that the happiest people were those who lived with an abundance of hope. Somehow hope generated the necessary stamina to weather the storms of life with patience, tolerance and a tiny smile on their faces.
Lately, though, I am finding the opposite to be true for me. Hope is sometimes the label I put on something much different. I have stamina, alright, but it isn’t so much the kind needed to weather storms, it’s more like my stubborn unwillingness to accept reality as something other than I want it to be. What I call “hope”, is usually just me wishing that one day, when all the stars align, I will finally get to be the supreme goddess of the universe and everything will fall into place according to MY plan.
I had hope that my husband would see things from my perspective when he was drinking and it would immediately make him stop. I had hope that my parents would somehow support me in my time of need, even though they were dealing with their own dramas. I have hope now that my family will see the financial strain that pulls at me and will be motivated to find work to help alleviate the pressure. Hope abounds, and hope blinds. It's just wishful thinking.
As I write this, it seems as if giving up hope would be a bad thing, like a venture into some kind of dark and dreary existentialism. But it doesn’t feel like that at all. I am learning that when I am able to accept reality for what it is, I am able to give up my perceived control over it and find a way to navigate through it without expectation. It’s actually a relief to surrender to it, for it is only when I accept reality for what it is, that I am able to see a force at work much larger than myself. When I surrender to what is, and abandon the idea of what could be, it gives me license to experience and treasure my life today, and grounds me in the present, instead of in some fantasy future that may never come to pass.
I no longer believe that the happiest people are those with an abundance of hope. It does sound good on the Hallmark card, but so do a lot of other things that are gussied up to make me feel better. Instead, I’m learning that the happiest souls are in fact those who have an abundance of acceptance. Those who can exhibit serenity in the midst of chaos, and in spite of chaos. For it is only when I allow myself to let go of my own struggle to control the future that I am able to relax into my life and enjoy it today, even if everything is not how I would like it to be.