When my grandmother wanted me to behave at meal-times, she told me stories. A scholar of ancient Greek literature, her stories were often Greek legends and myths such as Pandora’s box. I remember feeling great relief that after that remarkable box had been opened, releasing all the woes of humankind, one thing had been saved. That was hope. I needed to believe this was true, as I was an anxious child, the product of domestic upheaval and the horrific events of WW II. Hope was a balm for my nightmares. Somehow, with hope, everything would someday turn out alright, I told myself. And this included me. Heaven knows, I often needed Gram’s positive and hopeful encouragement to outgrow many of my self- defeating behaviors. She would chastize me gently, but then, encourage me to develop a plan for improving myself. Her message was that there was always hope for me. But, as I grew, I began to see that not everyone shared Gram’s eternal optimism. There seemed to be a thirst in the world for bad news and dwelling on negative behavior and events. A philosophy of hopelessness. People sometimes ridiculed me for being a Pollyanna when I would try to introduce a hopeful comment about humanity. But hope, to me is such a passionate belief in goodness, that I have persisted. No matter how many wars, scandals or crimes pepper the earth, I truly believe that we humans will eventually grow into our own goodness. Certainly, not in my lifetime, but perhaps eons from now. I think that human mistakes may even be the necessary process of birthing our transcendant selves.
I have seen that investing hope in a life free of pain and suffering is futile. Rather, I accept human suffering as a necessary key to deepening compassion, patience and humility. I do not invest my hope in accumulation of wealth and material things, which can be lost or taken away, but rather in working toward a world community where everyone can dare to
feel hopeful. I believe that without hope people die physically and spiritually. We can’t endure without that gift of Pandora. Like love, it grows from a survival tool into a connection with universal spirit. So, most of my hope is focused on the belief that as we all get better and better at everything in our own little corner, we can truly transform the world. In my own life, I have always tried to live up to my own best hope. My hope springs eternal, literally.
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