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A Hold on Hope, Part Three

Why is this piece of writing labeled ‘part three’? Because I have used the same title twice before. I am repeating myself within these pages, and I don’t know whether that’s good or bad. It could be that in my unhappiness, I keep running over the same ground to dissipate the sadness. Alternatively, I could choose to see these repetitions as a meditation, a clearing out of all that no longer serves my spirit and moving me closer to the bliss I seek. 

I like the second idea better.

Not to point out the obvious, but if I’m moving toward something I want, then I have hope. I have written before about Emily Dickinson and her poem about hope, and I have paraphrased Vladimir Nabokov: let the shadows fall behind you and all that. I have even Googled the definition of hope as a guidepost or waypoint to know where to turn at the next juncture or when to stop, rest, and recalibrate. 

Now I look to music which has saved my life more times than I can count. I did another Google search and found site after site with lists of songs about hope and perseverance. Many of the sites lean Christian, which doesn’t interest me. But I am intrigued by how humans continue cultivating hope in some of the worst circumstances. Music is one avenue, but I also lean on my friends, books, movies, and nature. 

Perhaps it’s a hodgepodge of many things that combine to give us a sense of possibility. We must believe that our situation will improve, or else why go on? I know people who are confirmed pessimists or call themselves “idealists” to make it seem that their negativity is based on some rational argument with verifiable data. But I don’t think hope is a measurable and quantifiable thing that can be pinned down with charts and clinical trials. Its origins and manifestations don’t reside in one place; they are everywhere. I have conjured up hope in the darkest moments as if I were an alchemist creating a new magical potion to save me from my demons. 

I suppose that is what we do every day: we find ways to inspire ourselves and the motivation to keep on keepin’ on, even though it feels desperately hard. I survived many things from my younger years that had the potential to destroy some people or render them dysfunctional forever.  I know I have issues and flaws that need to be addressed, but those events didn’t warp me.

What happened to me did not become the defining chapter of my life. They have informed my story but will not determine how it ends.

And so I go back to hope, eternally. I rely on it to bolster me. It reminds me of these lyrics from the band Guided By Voices:

Everybody’s gotta hold on hope/It’s the last thing that’s holding me.

I too am holding on to hope, and I won’t let go.

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