“I have the greatest weapon, I have hope.” -Sophia Mendoza (Master Sergeant, US Army)
My 6 year old niece was over last night. She was showing me her necklace and asked me what it said. The word scripted across the front of it was HOPE. As an inquisitive kid, she wanted me to explain what that word meant. I’ve thought a lot about that emotion, but have never had to explain it to someone before. The only thing I could think to say was, “Hope is kind of like wishing. When you wish for something you are wanting something in your future. But when you hope for something, you’re not wanting a gift or present but you are wanting something in your future that is going to make your day or your life better. It’s something to look forward to.” She looked at me and said, “I hope Phoebe (her sister) can come to my recital” You get it kiddo!
That brief conversation got me thinking about the emotion again and why it was so challenging for me to truly explain. Hope is the greatest emotion we have, followed closely by fear. These two emotions drive us to action more than any other we experience. When you look back through history, it is these two emotions that have created the reality we live in today. Wars, riots, demonstrations, rallies, revolutions, community, change. We are driven to action by both. We fight through fear, and pull ourselves together through hope. Both of which have caused amazing changes throughout our history.
“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope… and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” -Robert F. Kennedy
Hope allows us to realize that our current problems aren’t permanent and hold on to the belief that something better is achievable. When we hope, we allow ourselves to experience a sense of euphoria and we put out positive energy into the universe, which starts a change of events in our life.
There are many critics to this emotion. They believe that to hope is to make yourself vulnerable. That if what you are hoping for does not come true, then you are subjecting yourself to despair. My response, is that those who feel despair are attached to what they hope for. As Bob says, “Attachment, it will get you every time.” I do not allow myself to attach to anything I hope for. If it does not come to fruition, why would I despair? I never had it in the first place. I am not in a worse place, just not as good as I was hoping for.
There is also what Vaughan calls “False Hope.” False Hope is to hope for material things… A better car, new shoes, new wardrobe. These things do not make our lives better, they are simply bonuses. To hope, is to truly believe in something that will make life better, fuller, more joyful. When you really hope for something, you are reaching beyond material goods, you are reaching for something that is going to make a true positive change.
I love to feel hope. I allow myself to be hopeful for something every day. It is this emotion, and this emotion alone that drives me to be better, work harder, dig deeper and become a truer more authentic me. My hope is my future, and if I don’t achieve what I hope for, I either stumbled along the way and lost my sense of direction, or the universe had something bigger planned for me. Today I hope for a brighter tomorrow, while appreciating the beauty that surrounds me. What do you hope for?