Monday, April 11, 2011

The Naivety of Hope

Hope is one of those integral pieces of humanity that drives us forward. Our hopes, our aspirations help make this an amazing country; I believe it’s what has pushed our country to greatness. Our country’s success, wealth and power have less to do with capitalism, democracy, personal freedom, or wealth of natural resources than the simple act of hope. It’s all about a wealth of national hope and optimism, hope is the driving force to our success.

Now, I base none of these brilliant assertions on research, facts or statistics, why bother with facts when we are talking about dreams. Why else would salt of the earth blue collar workers worry about spreading wealth when they don’t have wealth? Why would someone who doesn’t own a business, like Joe “the I’m not really a plumber but I can dream can’t I” Whizbutt , object to a higher tax for people netting a million dollars a year? Because they hope, we hope, we dream that some day that rich person will be us and we are already protecting our perceived wealth, or at least the potential for that wealth. Hope doesn’t have to be realistic to be powerful.

Hope for a better life brought the early settlers to this country, hope drove people west, hope gave rise to a new experiment in democratic government and hope brought the country through the dark times of a civil war, a depression, and multiple world conflicts. Hope pushes us to new worlds and the stars and sometimes to decisions that are really counter to our own best interests.

Hope of riches brought us a mass produced car, hope of discovery brought us the stars, and hope of a new intellectual frontier brought us the information age. Without hope in the dynamics of this country would there be a Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett or George Soros? I believe it was the undying hope and optimism in our freedom of creation that brought our country innovation and wealth beyond compare.

Hope is what keeps critical illness from taking over your mind. Hope helped us moved AIDS from a death sentence, hope keeps the parents of the child with cystic fibrosis pounding on their child’s back to help them fill their lungs, hope keeps the cancer patient going back to chemo even though it makes them deathly ill. Hope is real miracle of any medicine.

I understand hope, even unreasonable naïve hope. I’ve had it, I have it, I hope to always live with it. Hope drove me through the dark days of the ICU, our unknown future and multiple trips to rehab, hope of better days kept me sane; hope of progress against the insurmountable kept me from giving up on recovery. Hope for Marty and I means accepting a new life.

I suppose all of this hopey stuff makes me a little naïve, but that’s just fine with me. I have tried it the other way, I have tried to be cynical, I have tried to be suspicious of everyone’s intentions, I have tried to find the failure in ideas, it just doesn’t work for me, it’s now who I am. I would rather be a little naïve, a little abused by life and people than to lose my optimism, my hope, my aspirations.

I’m not sure where we heard it but when Marty was in rehab from the second stroke her mantra became, “I’m better today than I was yesterday and I’ll be better tomorrow than I am today.” A simple call to hope, a simple declaration of moving forward, those words are still repeated from time to time in our house and they still hold true even these many years after her last stroke. It’s our constant hope.

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