I’m talking with a man about his happy future. There will be decisions to make and risks to take, but it’s a future that can definitely be his.
And then he says, “I don’t want to get my hopes up.”
The air leaves my body and I want to cry. And then I want to slap him, wake him up, shout the question that screams its own answer: “Do you know what happens when you don’t get your hopes up? Nothing! Not a bloody thing!”
Lethargy. Apathy. Ennui. Depression. Hopelessness. This is the black water that rushes to fill the emptiness when you refuse to get your hopes up. So for the love of God I’m begging you, “Get your hopes up.”
He says he doesn’t want to get his hopes up because he doesn’t want to be disappointed.
Perhaps the right answer is for him to buy a bigger TV, watch more sports and drink more beer. Yes, that’s the ticket. The clock will tick, the time will pass, and when they wheel his ancient body into a nursing facility, he’ll watch those same sports on a different TV and drink Ensure instead of beer.
“Congratulations, friend. You never had to resort to Plan B. You never had to figure out what went wrong or find a way to fix it. You never had to deal with the joys and pains of Life, the only sport worthy of a human being.”
Can you believe in things not immediately present? Of course you can. Tomorrow isn’t here, but you believe it will come.
Can you have confidence in things you cannot see? Yes, you prove this every time you write a check. You have confidence – faith – that the bank won’t let you down.
Is there anyone outside yourself that you care about enough to sacrifice time, energy and money to help them? If so, you have experienced love.
I know of a sad woman who got her hopes up once, and things worked out pretty well for her. She became extremely famous and was widely quoted and lots of books have been written about her. She said,
Many people have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”
Do you have a worthy purpose?
That woman couldn’t see the future and she didn’t hear the voice of God saying, “Everything is going to be okay.” In fact, she couldn’t see or hear anything at all. Her name was Helen Keller and she lived with disadvantages so severe that the mind recoils from imagining them.
When everything else is gone, faith, hope and love remain.
Some people have faith in themselves. Others have faith in something or someone else. Where you put your faith is up to you. Likewise, each of us chooses what or whom to love. But once those choices have been made, faith gives us courage, love gives us energy, and hope is the light that shines in the darkness.
Make a difference. Have an adventure. Get your hopes up.
Turn on the light.
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