Hope Revisited

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.

22 Responses to Hope Revisited

  1. Jan December 5, 2017 at 8:55 am #

    I think that hope, as with many other things, is a choice.

  2. Jan December 5, 2017 at 9:25 am #

    Should also mention that personally, for me, hope and faith do go hand-in-hand. And while a cure would certainly be ideal, what I hope for more so is endurance and perspective.

    Back now to my insurance battle for a SmartScoot. On my third month and phone call number 23. Will not cave easily for this or MS.

  3. Louisa December 5, 2017 at 7:47 pm #

    I Agree with Richard. Sometimes I feel like I just cannot hold onto any hope despite some evidence that everything may turn out relatively well , and sometimes I am in complete denial of any misfortune despite vast evidence to the contrary.

  4. Riley December 7, 2017 at 11:58 am #

    “I cannot reason my way in or out of hope.” Me either. Sometimes my best thinking has backed me into a corner.
    I will get better, do better, be better; even get well, do well, be well. I can’t manufacture the feeling that leads me to this idea. But sometimes, even in the face of evidence to the contrary, I sometimes feel the possibility.

  5. Jack December 7, 2017 at 4:25 pm #

    Thirty years ago, I would wake up every morning at 5:30 a.m. to run a few miles before going to work. Now I am sitting in a power wheelchair, but I still haven’t thrown away my old Adidas running shoes. They are on a shelf in my closet where I can see them every day. Is this an indication that, in spite of all logical evidence to the contrary, I still have the hope that I will be able to lace them up and run – or walk – again? Or, is it just that seeing them helps me to escape into happy memories of how my life used to be? Either way, the suspension of reality works for me: It is my weapon against despondency.

  6. Jan December 7, 2017 at 10:21 pm #

    I still have my figure skates, even though the reality is the last time I skated it was only for 15 minutes, briefly coming out of skating retirement seven years ago. Seven!!

    But still now on car errands, I turn up the music loudly and kind of pretend as if I’m skating. They are pricey Spiteri’s that I may sell when ready because someone else could make good use of them.

    Cannot help but to notice all the skating rinks popping up during this holiday season. A little daunting. But also I have realized that no one can take away my memories or prior “pedigree.”

    • Jason December 11, 2017 at 12:11 pm #

      I totally understand Jan. It is really hard to let go of something you love and is dear to your heart.I think when we hold onto these things it is what gives us hope. Not doing the things that we have lost to MS or other illnesses is very hard to deal with but I feel we hold onto these things, thoughts or dream it is what keeps going every day.With the one tiny chance, we may be able to do it again.

  7. Brian L. December 8, 2017 at 2:11 pm #

    Wow, I was afraid that I was the only one, but it turns out I’m not. I’m 53 years old, but I still have my trophies from motocross and jet skiing on a shelf in the garage where I can see them every day. I know it’s kinda cheesy, but I think it helps me cope. I’ve gotten to the point that my left arm is the only thing that works anywhere near normal. I’m in a wheelchair full time, and only on occasion can transfer myself in or out of it. But when I’m really feeling sorry for myself, I try to remind myself of all the things I got to do early in life. I had a very healthy 30 years, and I’m thankful for it.

  8. Jane December 9, 2017 at 10:55 am #

    Brian is right. I am thankful for the good years and the ability to see the positive in all things. We persevere.

  9. Louisa December 9, 2017 at 8:42 pm #

    I agree about the good years . In fact that is why, in the absence of proven, effective treatment, I am not a proponent of “early diagnosis” .

  10. Jane December 10, 2017 at 9:31 am #

    Good point, Louisa. I denied my diagnosis for a long time, and it worked for me. Of course, there were few treatments back then. Now I focus on the inner me, the one ms is impotent to touch. As my body weakens, my soul grows.

    • Rita December 10, 2017 at 10:15 pm #

      I love that Jane! Separate the body from the spirit and that’s where hope lays. Good one.

      • Jan December 12, 2017 at 12:50 am #

        Nice, Rita!

  11. Jason December 11, 2017 at 11:58 am #

    Hope is a hard thing to hold onto.Dealing with the unpredictability of MS it is hard to maintain hope.

    You make plans and say ok I am going to make a change and try to improve my situation and deal with the problems I have been given.

    My MS journey started last October with optic neuritis.I am a pet photographer and it has been extremely hard to start back up after the optic neuritis started.

    Now it has been a year and I have been hoping that all the meds and steroids would bring my vision back.

    I have not touched my camera the whole time. It has been devastating. But I have had hope and prayed that all would go well and my eye would heal.and I would be able to see. This has been one of the hardest things to deal not the just the physical aspect but the emotional part has been very draining.

    Prior to my diagnosis, I had a studio, volunteered at my local rescue 2 to 3 times a week. Made great friends there I really was completely happy. I would work 12-hour shifts at night and in the morning take rescue photos. I ran myself ragged for 2 years. Then BAM.

    So this year I have been very hopeful I am on my second med and it is making me feel better. No new lesions, I thought great this is my turning point I have been mentally working my self to. Starting all over and trying to get my life back.

    So last week I went to get a new set of glasses and my eye doctor told me that part of the nerves in my eye are dead.So all the hope that I had been keeping was instantly taken away. How does one recover? It is so hard to be hopeful and be positive.

    I shall persevere and try again. It may take longer to get back to where I was. It may not even happen, but I will keep the hope going. It is not easy keeping hope alive but I feel it is tied into the will to live.

    • Jan December 12, 2017 at 1:17 am #

      Jason, I am very sorry about your ON. That was the beginning of MS for me 12 1/2 years ago. And yes, I do think that hope is tied to the will and navigating through detours along the way.

  12. Stacey December 11, 2017 at 5:22 pm #

    You all keep your running shoes and skates; I keep my heels . I know that there is not very likely I will wear them again, but they sit up on the top shelf, and I can still appreciate them aesthetically.

    I think hope is genetically encoded within my DNA. My life has been a total soap opera, but hope is still underneath everything, flickering but not out.

  13. Jan December 12, 2017 at 1:12 am #

    Thanks, Stacey.

    I’m actually in the process of getting rid of my former shoes with block heels, about 1 3/4 inches (not even spikes), instead for flats. Used to be able to wear them but no longer—hurts too much and just too dicey with balance. But this online NordstromRackaholic is finding some nice flats there, and even the healthy hurt from heels!

    Yes, hope. One day at a time. And to somewhat borrow a line from the movie, “The Sound of Music,” when one door closes, another opens. And what’s behind it may ultimately be more important.

  14. Rita December 15, 2017 at 12:29 pm #

    Jan and Stacie I feel your shoe pain 🙂 I have shoe envy whenever someone walkS by in gorgeous heels. I am always stopping soMeone to tell them their shoes are fabulous! I gave most of my heels away when I started using a cane, gave the rest away when I began using a rollator. This year I’ll probably be on a scooter so I am hoping to save enough money to purchase a pair of 5 inch Loubotin stilettos just so I can sit in my scooter with my “red bottoms” up. My consolation prize for being in a scooter and never being able to “strut the runway” in beautiful heels ever again. I never could walk in 5 inches so now I can scoot in them! That’s my hope. Oh, and world peace but the shoes are more likely to happen 😉

  15. Jan December 16, 2017 at 2:43 pm #

    Rita, FYI I am 3 months and 31 phone calls into getting a SmartScoot approved by insurance. Not over until it is over, and they failed at doing this for two recent graduations. Need it at least done this month under my met regular deductible.

    From a wheelchair view, I have to say I somewhat wince when I see high heels—to me, they look like ankle flips waiting to happen!!”

    • Rita December 19, 2017 at 4:21 pm #

      LOL Jan especially on cobblestone type pavement. I have problems navigating it with my walker!

  16. Jan December 19, 2017 at 11:59 pm #
  17. Jan December 20, 2017 at 12:00 am #