The End of Hope (Part 2)

Hope refuses to be boxed in. Hope stretches what we conceive of as reality. Though many learn to accept limitations (and there is definite merit to such), hope pushes at those boundaries, redefines them, renegotiates their finitude.

The reality is that humans settle. We have been “settling” America for the past two hundred and almost 40-some years. Of course we still pioneer but mostly in engineering better ways to enjoy comfort or to increase our security.

Settling puts walls up, fences up, security gates, locks, etc. It solidifies the fortress so the inhabitants are “safe.” The problem we never suspected, perhaps, is that safe is not so great. Safe has a whole new set of problems it comes with.

The more “secure” things are, the less in many ways people appreciate or understand that security. There are millions of benefits, of course (like the freedom to write in this journal), but we must be honest about the challenges of being safe.

Also dangerous, of course, is the weight of continually pushing. It is not our “job” to constantly push at boundaries. It is our “job” to BE. As we truly grow in grace the knowledge of BEing, our capacity naturally expands.

This mission of sledgehamming self-induced walls is not something outside us, it is not a duty we grudgingly commit to. Though certainly there are aspects of it that require sacrifice and discipline, those things result from something inside, namely hope.

Getting to hope is really the work we are about. It is largely an inner work. This inner work itself pushes and pulls us beyond the walls of safety, walls we emotionally put up to ensure our “happiness,” the other great enemy of the Spirit. Hope knows the absolute silliness of being happy, or striving for happiness. Hope knows happiness is an elusive mistress, ultimately illusion. Happiness by definition is a by-product, a result of temporarily satisfying some need now.

Hope takes the longview of happiness. It is not the immediate gratification of some need. Hope by nature is deferred gratification, or intentionally postponed gratification of some need, whether by choice or even at times by circumstance.

Hope creates a set of priorities that do not reflect our immediate wants. Hope differentiates between what is needed and what we are simply used to. Hope challenges us to boldly disappoint those expecting from us.

Hope welcomes sacrifice in the near term. It understands the process for which goals are achieved. It knows there are no shortcuts, but that life gives enough rewards along the way to sustain us. It is not about being a martyr, it is about waiting.

Hope is waiting with patience for the rest of life to catch up with our inner vision. In other words, we see something, we have a vision, we know the potential of something, but we are alone in that at first. We do not know the outcome, yet.

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