An Old Hope

John Warner (@biblioracle) tweeted this (and more):

I understand what he is saying.  But for me, hope is not a feeling.  It is not an emotion. Hope is action.  Hope is found in motion.

In Rogue One, when Jyn Erso says, “Rebellions are built on hope,” there is a sense that, yes, hope comes first.  But I say no, hope comes from action. Hope begins the moment that somebody stands up and says, “Let’s roll.”

I’ve spent large chunks of my life in situations where it was easier to give up than to keep going.  Raising a schizophrenic child that continued to be resistant to treatment of any kind was an ongoing nightmare. Hope for him did not exist without action. I’ve  also been in a handful of life or death situations where there was no time for hope, only action.

Looking back, it was six years ago today that I learned I had a brain tumor.  I had gone to the hospital at 7:00 am on New Year’s Eve for a 7:30 am MRI. I remember clearly the face of the radiologist when he came into the locker room while I was dressing. He wanted to tell me that they did find a tumor and my doctor would likely want to see me that day or on Monday. He was clearly upset. I did not assume it had anything to do with me.  Monday evening I learned how serious my situation was.

From my initial appointment with ENT I had expected a small tumor the size of a pencil lead causing my deafness.  Instead, my tumor was the size of a golf ball and compressing my brainstem into a loss of functionality.  I was told I had three to six months before an inevitable coma and death. Without action, there was no hope.

It is clear to me though that hopelessness and despair often lead to an inability to act. When that happens, we must rely on others to act. Anyone that was gone through trauma and faced extended periods of indecisiveness can understand this. This is why a sense of community is so important, and that we share in our action by relying on others to back us up.

In the aftermath of the Joplin tornado in 2011, random acts of art occurred throughout the city.  Carvings, murals,  and most an especially, an “H” and an “E” made of duct tape bracketing the remaining “OP” in the JOPLIN HIGH SCHOOL sign, creating HOPE HIGH SCHOOL. Action creating, and inspiring, hope by someone who had not given up.

In Rogue One, Captain Cassian was not much of a hero until well into the middle of the movie. He didn’t become a hero until Jyn Erso took action; not by speaking her mind, but by planning to make the effort to obtain the plans for the Death Star anyway. Cassian found hope and the ability to be a hero, along with others.  We must be our own heroes, inspired by our own actions or that of others.

Four weeks ago I was in a dark place. The constant challenges of caregiving, work, and dealing with loss, had gotten to be too much. I was worn down.  For the first time in 54 years I felt completely beaten, far worse even than the time I literally crawled a quarter-mile up a mountain to finish a race. I knew that sense of being beaten would pass.  I was given some advice by a person I trusted, and made the decision to accept that advice.  I took the actions to match that advice and hope returned. Almost immediately.

For me, hope will always come from action.

You can hide ‘neath your covers and study your pain
Make crosses from your lovers, throw roses in the rain
Waste your summer praying in vain
For a savior to rise from these streets

Well now, I ain’t no hero, that’s understood
All the redemption I can offer, girl, is beneath this dirty hood
With a chance to make it good somehow
Hey, what else can we do now?

-Bruce Springsteen,  “Thunder Road”

Though nothing, will keep us together
We could steal time, just for one day
We can be heroes, forever and ever
What’d you say?

I, I wish you could swim
Like the dolphins, like dolphins can swim
Though nothing, nothing will keep us together
We can beat them, forever and ever
Oh, we can be heroes, just for one day

– David Bowie, “Heroes”


2 thoughts on “An Old Hope

  1. Pingback: Fearing the worst, and hoping for the best | Donna Lanclos–The Anthropologist in the Stacks

  2. Pingback: We Shall Overcome Redux | random data from a tumored head

Be nice. It won't hurt either of us.

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