I believe in the importance of hope and choices. I first grabbed onto the idea of hope as a child. I remember hoping that I would get good grades or that I would make the team. But I realized that sometimes what I hoped for was beyond the realm of possibility and it was at these times I had to refocus my hopes in order to allow for success. Instead of becoming discouraged when things didn’t work out, I made the choice to make the best of my situation and abilities.
After graduating from high school I received a college scholarship and hoped to go on to college. Despite my hopes at higher education, the expense was just too much, so I packed up my things and began to travel the country, hoping to discover who I was and where I was going.
In 1934, I found myself in Times Square in New York City on New Years Eve. I watched the ball drop with 200,000 other people. Standing there among so many, I realized I didn’t belong in that crowd. I traveled back home to Iowa where I got a job, dated a girl, and eventually got married. During World War II, I made the choice to move my family and began working at a defense plant where I was a scheduler. After ten years of work, we moved again and for the next 22 years I worked hard and raised a family – all the while continuing to hope and make choices.
Eventually, I decided to retire and my wife and I made the choice to move in with my father-in-law hoping to provide some comfort to an ailing man. It was at this time in my life that I bought a loom. The loom provided lots of choices: what to make, what pattern to use, and what colors to include. Even in retirement I was still confronted with interesting choices big and small.
After my father-in-law passed away, my wife and I returned home once again. It was there my wife fell to Alzheimer’s and passed away. I made a difficult choice and to moved into an assisted living home where I still reside today.
The idea of hope that grabbed me as a child still is with me today. Even at 94, I still hope for more choices in my life. I still try to help other people every chance I get. I know that not every choice I made was a good one, but I lived with the consequences and learned from my mistakes – hoping I would be presented with more choices in the future. Along my long life’s journey I’ve come to understand that life is full of many choices and that having hope will lead you to even more.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.