I keep ruminating about hope, probably thinking it to death. Not a new subject here. My book, Chasing Hope, is to be published May 1st. I am not going to use this space to sell the book. That would be pretty cheesy. I only want to say I am as confused about where the magic waters of hope are as I was when I started asking questions a few years ago.
As I worked on the book, I consulted religious leaders, some of whom I found doctrinal and pretty inflexible. I won’t name them. A few went with the flow. I spent time with a few prominent journalists who have known illness and injury. They were cool, though probably I just related to them.
Anyone who lives with serious sickness must be familiar with the idea of hope. Many must take it for granted and pass up the need to question it. For some, hope and faith go hand-in-hand. You cannot have one without the other. We have been on that ride3 together.
I do think hope has to be sensible. “Hope is easy for the foolish, but hard for the wise. Everybody can lose himself into foolish hope, but genuine hope is something rare and great.” –Paul Tillich. That is the epigraph in my book.
Frankly, I spent a few years complicating a simple subject. You either have it or you don’t. Is hope always sensible? Now that is a good question. A much-loved brother-in-law recently died of pancreatic cancer. From his first scans, it was clear what he was up against. The issue was not what but when. We spent a lot of time last summer with my sister and her family and had wonderful time together, even as he grew sicker. When died in October, it was a shock to the system. I was not prepared. We had hoped for more time together, knowing what we would get would not be enough. For me, hope had just happened.
I believe hope cannot be controlled. For me, it is an involuntary response. I cannot reason my way in or out of hope. I have tried.