We Live in Hope

This Story is: True Story


We Live In Hope

I clip the lead onto the prancing, dancing dog, who, realising that her hopes of a walk are about to be fulfilled, can no longer contain her excitement. The November sky is a clear duck egg blue. Early morning sunshine struggles to breathe warmth into the crisp winter air. Erring on the side of caution, having been caught once too often in an unexpected deluge, I am attired in my well-worn but waterproof rain jacket. My feet automatically turn towards the river. I am often tempted to go a different direction, try a different walk but the river draws me as though it is calling my name. I reach the familiar curving path and wonder for the umpteenth time how my footsteps over the last eight months have not worn its concrete to a shine. There is a balance here all of its own. Houses securely hug the bank that my feet now traverse while my eyes are mesmerised and the rebel in me is tempted by the shadowy wilderness on the other side.
This path has become my refuge, confession box, counsellor and judge and jury. On dark days it has seen me so lonely and despairing that I feared to lift my eyes lest the world might see my soul. While on brighter days the gushing water has been the backdrop to my unmelodic humming. The fast-flowing current offers reassurance that nothing in life remains static. Our moods are as transient and ever changing as the river itself.
It is here that I first questioned what hope actually is. We use the word hope when we feel we have no physical power over the circumstances we are wishing to change, or when we are hoping for a good outcome. Does that mean that while we are hoping for something, we are feeling helpless or powerless, or that we are just unwilling to put the effort into making it come to pass? By hoping, are we handing over our ability to try to do something or are we avoiding taking responsibility for something that could have been avoided?
Hope to me is akin to prayer. We are sending our wishes out to God, the universe, or whoever we turn to in times of worry, to intercede on our behalf. I believe that every creature on this planet has the ability to hope and that it is as vital to life as water or air. What rouses the birds from their roosts early on a cold frosty morning? Is it instinct, or is it the hope of catching a tasty worm? Hope sparks in the dog’s eyes when she once again sees me reaching for my coat, even though we have just returned from a walk. The bumble bee lands on the blossom in the hope he will soon have a belly full of sweet nectar. We get up each morning hoping that the day before us will fulfil our wishes and desires, be they for a new job, the solution to a problem that has been stalking us, or simply a fine day to get the washing dry. Our hopes are as individual as ourselves and what may seem like a trivial hope to one may be an insurmountable mountain to another.
Without hope what would get us out of bed when we are feeling low? How would we keep going when we feel the odds are stacked against us? Most importantly, how could we ever manage to smile if we didn’t have the hope that things would work out right in the end.

Mary O’Farrell

This story is True Story