Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. –Dale Carnegie
Perhaps my favored way of learning about anything is reading what other people who have gone before me have said about the subject. Yesterday I worked diligently to lean towards hope as despair pulled at my heels. Every victory towards hope, no matter how small or frequent the effort to find it again, changes life for all of us. Martin Luther King relied on hope to share his dream that still changes the world when he said: “If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream.”
Coming to hope is one of the most profound daily choices we make. Don Quixote’s mad journey ended with this conclusion. “Sanity may be madness but the maddest of all is to see life as it is and not as it should be.” Giving life the benefit of the doubt which is another way to open up to hope is how we build trust in ourselves and the relationships that define our days. Maintaining trust in the goodness of life and humanity is a matter of survival as Elie Wiesel shares when he said: “…just as despair can come to one another only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings.”
Indeed, the most important figures in history have been people of hope. Whether you look at the great religious teachers like Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Mohammed, Ghandi, Mother Teresa and even great political leaders, the one thing they all shared was their belief in the goodness of humanity and their ability to inspire it around them. Howard Zinn, who just recently passed away and was one of the most respected Historians of the people said: “To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places — and there are so many–where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.”
The more you choose hope, the easier it gets, because life is made meaningful out of our connections, which with all our imperfections springs from hope. Robert Fulghum, said ” I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge–myth is more potent than history–dreams are more powerful than facts–hope always triumphs over experience–laughter is the cure for grief–love is stronger than death.” A positivity chant if ever I heard one.