Sunday, December 03, 2006

Hope and Hopelessness

Today's talk at church was about hope. Okay, about hope and other stuff, but apparently this week of Advent is about hope, so I'm going to say the talk was about hope.

It was almost too much for me to take in at once, but then again, I have a short attention span.

What was I saying? Oh yes. Hope.

Anyway, it reminded me of the summer before last when I heard Rita Pierson speak. I fail to remember exactly what she was saying, but it was something about things humans need, or something people in poverty need, or... I don't remember. On this list was the word "faith", and she said something along the lines of "I don't like to use that word, because I know it puts some people off," and she's right, it does. I know this for a fact.

Face it, some people have just ruined the word for others of us. It comes with overtones of smugness, judgmental behaviors, and about 57 other negative things I'm not going to dwell on here. My personal thoughts on the word have changed now, but, depending on who is using it, it can still hold those overtones.

Back to the point, after she said this, she went on to say something along the lines of, "I choose to use the word 'hope'". She explained that one thing that is needed for... whatever it was she was talking about... is the hope that things will get better. A belief that they will, in fact. (Which means "faith" is a better word, but still, overtones.)

So, at the time, I was very much like, "Oh, okay, I have that." That's because, at the time, I only thought life was as bad as it could get. Little did I know.

Now I have to wonder if I have hope any more. I mean, I know I do, because I seem to have this insane amount of it. Crazy insane amounts of it. (As opposed to the other definition of insane, Mark?) I have this hope in me that something will change. I'll sit down and do something that turns my life around. I'll meet the right person, say the right thing, do the right good deed, and--presto!--instant turned-around life.

And then there's the rest of me that looks around and sees that this hope is getting me exactly nothing except disappointment and... well, more disappointment. And this part of me is totally devoid of hope.

Yes, yes, I'm one person. I get that. But I'm one person both filled with hope and hopelessness. The two must not be like matter and anti-matter, or I would have exploded by now, right?

I do live in hope that I'll get my life together. I live in hope that I won't be working two or more jobs the rest of my life. I live in hope that my life will be longer than a few more years. I also live in hope that my life isn't too long, because getting very old can be messy and expensive, and here I can't even afford being 39.

And I live with a part of my head saying, "Dude," (I don't know why this part of my brain says "Dude," but I just heard that in my head when I thought it) "look around you! You're gonna be working an extra job until you're dead, and at the rate you're going, that's not so far down the road. Give it up!"

I mean, to be honest, the other part of my head responds with a, "Oh, shut up." Usually, anyway.

Here's a for-instance (also known as an example): Friday was not the best day on record for me. Just when I thought I'd robbed Peter enough, Paul came up with a thing or two I'd forgotten about. I don't have the finances right now to get the blower fixed on my car, so I've resolved myself to wiping--or scraping and wiping--the interior side of my windows while driving down the road. It took a crazy amount of time to find a parking place downtown, and I ended up having to fork over $5 for that. This was after forking over $18 and some change for my tux cleaning. These seem like small amounts, but see the earlier bit about Peter & Paul for clarification.

I'm in the dressing room lamenting these and other facts aloud when I notice my tux shirt, which had been missing one of the buttons on the left cuff, was now not missing that button.

You would have thought it was the miracle of Christmas. I was joyously announcing to everyone that either the cleaners thought they lost the button and thus replaced it, or they were just nice folks, as there was not an additional charge for the button. I then realized how stupid I sounded, having just gone on about how life is just too much, only to be thrilled to death that I got a free button sewn on my tux shirt.

So I had to throw in a sarcastic, "This is it, things are definitely turning around for me!"

Oh, I'm sorry... you were expecting some sort of point?

No, none there, really. Just reporting that I'm just as confused as usual, and it's thanks to the 800 people in my brain.

Also, to report that Andy scored with a timely talk today.

That is all.

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