“Lord save us all from a hope tree that has lost the faculty of putting out blossoms.”
– Mark Twain
I was torn between writing about Hope and Hyperactivity for my H post, but hope won. Hope always wins. It beats despair and despondency. It makes us rethink yesterday, enjoy today, and look forward to tomorrow.
I wasn’t always a hopeful person though. In fact, the fast majority of my life I was a pessimist. I don’t know if this is unusual, but I became optimistic and hopeful as a person only after the diagnosis. A defining moment in my own experience as an autism mother was the day I felt hope return, and once it did, I held on tight and decided I wouldn’t let it go again. If this was to be our journey, hope was going to be our fuel.
Yet you can’t make hope. You can’t will yourself to feel hopeful. At the times you most need it, it is the most elusive. So what do you do then?
You find a hope tree that is in blossom. If you’re in the depths of winter, find someone in spring. It may be your partner, or a relative, or a stranger from the interwebs radiating joy in today and belief in tomorrow. It may be a young child who doesn’t even know what hope is, but who lives as an eternal spring, with all the bounce included. Find it, and feast your eyes, inhale the scent, feel the sturdiness of the trunk.
It isn’t a hope based on goals and milestones. I don’t look ahead to a “cure” or “recovery”- if I did, I think I’d still feel the chill of winter, with my hope always out of reach. But I can’t live so close to my own hope tree without smelling the fragrance of the blossom, and feeling the sun beating down on us.
Hope really is like blossom, it buds and it flourishes. No sooner are you enjoying another’s bloom, than you feel it germinating yourself. Then all you need to do is put out your blossoms for everybody else to see. I’d love to picture our own forest in bloom. Every one of us experiencing the magical new beginning of the season.
That is what Hope does for me. It chases away the drab, and lets me see life in glorious technicolour, like the incredible blossoms of the Jacaranda trees here in South Africa. Almost dazzling in their brightness, yet real enough to touch.
But if you really don’t feel it growing inside of you, try this quote instead. You may find that you’re already halfway there.
“Scared and sacred are spelled with the same letters. Awful proceeds from the same root word as awesome. Terrify and terrific. Every negative experience holds the seed of transformation.”
– Alan Cohen