I had a very strange experience this morning. I was driving to work in the fog, down a road lined with corn fields, and suddenly nothing looked familiar. I couldn’t see any identifying landmarks and even though I have driven down this road hundreds, if not thousands, of times, I had no idea where I was. I wasn’t even sure if I had inadvertently somehow made a wrong turn somewhere without realizing it. It was, for that split second, very frightening.
Of course, moments later, I saw the dim outline of the big barn that marked Galligan Road, where I turn. A sense of relief flooded through me. All returned to normal.
But that moment of doubt, that sudden panic, got me thinking.
When we have those moments in life, what keeps us going? Some would answer faith, some would say it is their certainty that they are on the right path. There really is no right answer – just whatever it is that keeps you moving forward. For me, what it amounts to is Hope. Yes, with a capital letter.
When I am lost, turned around, flailing, it is the Hope that I will once again find my way, get back on track, solve the problem, that keeps me from throwing up my hands and sitting down in the dirt to cry. Okay, I still cry, I just don’t give up. For me, with Hope comes Possibility. It is possible, I say, that my turn is right up ahead, somewhere in the fog, even though I can’t see it. It is also possible that maybe that isn’t my usual turn, but will get me where I need to go. In fact, it’s possible that although it isn’t my usual turn, and might not get me where I originally set out to go, I might actually end up someplace even better! Without Hope, I would never see the possibilities. I would drive on, hell-bent for leather in a panic, laser-beam focused on locating the route I see in my memory but now unrecognizable in the fog, effectively blind to that little side road to Shangri-la hidden in the fog.
So yes. Hope. Possibilities. These are my life preservers.
I fill my writing with Hope. I like happy endings. There may be disappointment, devastation, grief, sorrow, pain, challenges and villains, but in the end, there must be a sense of peace. A kernel of goodness. The Hope that no matter what, Love, with a capital L, not just the romantic kind, remains.
My nickname at work is Pollyanna.
Any of you remember that film? The Disney one with Hayley Mills? The nickname is often not meant as a compliment, implying that I’m somehow impossibly naive or unrealistic, but I choose to take it as one. I am not always cheerful – that would just get annoying – but I am curiously optimistic about life, the future, our species, the planet. I apparently have an overabundance of Hope. So on this chilly, foggy, gloomy day, I offer you some of that Hope. Take it and suck all the possibilities out of it. If you hope that this afternoon the sun will come out, there is always the possibility that it will. Maybe here, but maybe not here. Maybe someplace else, someplace you could travel to. Maybe the sun isn’t the one in the sky but the one in your heart. The one that can ALWAYS shine brightly.
Oh dear. That makes me think of that song from Annie. You know the one I mean and you surely don’t want me to start singing, so I’ll just leave you to your day with the following words:
The sun will come out tomorrow I mean: