Contributed by Eva Fleming
Children are full of hope. Every day I hear mine talk about how great their future houses, families, and careers will be. In turn, I kindle their hope by telling them that they have the power to make it so. I encourage them because I know that hope is a life sustaining force. It is like oxygen; essential to a good life. Unbeknownst to them, I cherish a big hope for them too: I hope they have everlasting love.
As a child, you were probably like my kids believing that tomorrow held a great promise. We start out with such great hopes but life hits us hard so we begin to write off love and lose hope in marriage and relationships altogether. If you’ve had a relationship that ended in a break up, or you saw how your parents ended up getting a divorce after 20 years of marriage, you may have become a skeptic. It isn’t hard to lose hope in love, when in addition to your own past failures, all you hear are your friends constantly talking about their unhappy relationships. You start piling up the reasons why it could never be and end up envisioning a society without love; children who survive without the support of their parents; life without people that bring you support. If this is how you have been feeling lately, I ask you to go back to the hopes of your youth and imagine a world where family units continue to keep the fiber of society strong; a society where children can count on their parents, and where husbands and wives love and respect each other. Imagine a society where your talents and virtues are appreciated and wanted and envision what would happen if all your friends got infused with that much hope!
“Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane,” Said Red from the movie The Shawshank Redemption. Red was right, hope is dangerous, but it is also wonderful. It is better to be insane than to be bitter and full of regret because we refuse to pursue love. When I talk about hope and the power of love, I’m not talking about wishing upon a star or the exercise of positive thinking. I’m talking about the kind of hope that fuels our daily living so we can change the course of our lives. Since my children’s minds go so easily to the future, I use that as fuel to encourage them to study hard, never miss school, practice their instruments, and exercise. I tell them that hope has legs and getting through all these small, menial and daily tasks is how their wonderful future will begin to unfold. What about you? What small, menial, daily tasks can you incorporate in your daily routine to nourish hope? Is it physical exercise and healthy eating for a healthier you? Is it having a studying and reading time for a well-educated you? Is it service time for a more generous you? Do what you must but don’t give up on love, friendship, and family only because you don’t want to be driven insane by the winds of hope.
Love and hope are not tied up to a romantic relationship. You can be single and still cherish life, love and family. It is possible to be single without being alone. Hopeful singles don’t poison their emotional well being with crushed hopes and dashed dreams. Hopeful singles are not stuck in the failures of their past. Hopeful and happy singles have taken charge of their reality and given up all envy to pursue optimism while still holding on to love. They have learned to be good stewards and refuse to live selfishly to fulfill only their own desires. They foster meaningful friendships and become part of a community. And when they are ready for a relationship, they engage in it with hope.
So whether you are a single person with many past hurts or a married person that has lost hope in their relationship, learn to rise above the failures of your past. Stop dwelling. Dwelling is the absolute opposite of hoping. Hope is rooted in your relationship with the future; dwelling focuses your thoughts in the past. Thinking about past things that could have been good or bad, rarely, if ever, compel one to act. Instead, continue to develop strategies that will help you move forward, learn to plan for difficulties, setbacks, and disappointments and give love, friendship and family another try. You can become part of the group of dreamers that work to rebuild a society that still holds on to hope. Hope has renewed my relationship with my husband during the last 22 years over and over again and hope is what I give to my children so they too can pursue everlasting love.