I BELIEVE IN HOPE
I believe in hope. It wasn’t a belief I acquired overnight. It took many people and much pain to come to believe in myself, and my dreams. Today, as corny as it may sound, I know that if I believe in myself and never give up hope, that anything is possible.
My mother tried to instill this belief in me all my life. She was working full time at a minimum wage job, putting herself through school and supporting her juvenile delinquent son. She would often say, “You can do anything in this world if you believe in yourself my son.” At the time I thought this a cheesy cliché. Though she believed in me, I refused to believe in myself. It was a long hard time before I would heed her wisdom.
Growing up in the section eight housing projects where I lived there were shark-eyed drug dealers, glossy-eyed fiends and the echo of sirens and gunshots in the night air. I pictured my dreams and hopes broken and fragmented like the glass littering the concrete on the streets where I played as a child. Most of my friends through the years ended up in handcuffs or caskets. Hope was scarce where I grew up. Or so I thought.
A few people made it out and did what they wanted with their lives. At first, I would tell myself it was luck that delivered them from this world of insanity. It was easier than telling myself that I, too, had the ability to achieve my dreams. Most of them I lost touch with through the years. It would seem that once they were out of the furnace of violence, drugs and madness they never looked back. I began to wonder at a certain point what made them different then me. They were presented with the same set of ugly circumstances as I was, the same seemingly hopeless situation as me. What did they posses that I did not?
At the age of fifty four my mother completed her Master’s degree at the University of Washington and created her own non-profit business. I started to realize the one thing that my mom and all my friends who did something with themselves had in common. Hope. They believed in themselves and they never gave up. Against all the odds no one could take that. On the wings of their courage and strength, I could feel glimmers of light shinning me on toward great things.
It’s still a struggle to maintain that belief in myself and that sense of hope, but I know the alternative is getting paid nothing an hour and working a dead end job for a boss who is spends the money I make him in a ridiculously frivolous manner and thinks I should be celebrating my thirty two cent raise. It would mean stuffing all my passion and emotions down inside until I die or drowned in what could have been. I won’t regret my life. I refuse to waste my precious time on this earth worrying about the future. If I believe in myself I have the ability to make my dreams real. I believe hope is alive, it is in the words I write, and in the hearts and minds of those who realize the endless potential of the human soul to overcome obstacles and adversity and achieve greatness.
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