A little piece of hope

Little pieces of hope.

Surprised again with the arrival and amazed at the feelings that come as a companion to them.  Had I expected them to cease?  To be beyond the hope that they represented themselves as?  Was it because the hope itself was only a dream, or that I felt undeserving somehow?  When the little piece of hope was revealed, for it came unannounced as it always does, it came from a place and direction I could hardly have expected.  Thus, the power of the thing itself.  Unexpected and in some ways even unwanted.  That would have been the better of things, to have been done with the anticipation and grieved the non-coming event so that it could be done with and final.  Like being at grandma’s and you wake in the middle of the night waiting on the grandfather clock striking the hour, you lay in bed and wait, knowing that it will come, if you wound it today. If it had not stopped for some reason, or if the hour was nearing its passing.  You roll over and think it must have come already and you just had missed it, and then it chimes.  The reassurance and stability return to their place of equilibrium, and you rest. 

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, or so the psalm says, and my heart affirms.  It is in these times that the hope that comes in pieces is strikingly different than the hope fulfilled when it comes complete and filled with results. Like when your alcoholic parent is not quite as drunk when your friends drop in unexpected, or when the promise of change comes, and stays for a while this time.  Followed by the reassurance and equilibrium that you knew as a child for even that one memory, only to be destroyed by the reality of not just the return of the hope destroyer, but the falling to the next level down.  Or maybe it is several steps that you fall before the landing arrests your momentum and the shaking stops.  These are the problems with the little pieces of hope that you fear, that you begin to dread.  These are the ones that you begin to hope don’t return.  Not big enough to resolve, only big enough to tease.

Even in this writing, there is a hope of resolution.  But it is not to be.  It is about your own need for closure and the tingle of that which is found in the hope of an answer or a path to better. Whatever that is.  And you are now on your own to explore it, to confront it. To find the reason that the little piece of hope is important at all.  And why you still Hope.

There is a phrase that goes like this “Unmet needs motivate”.  Simply stated, if you are motivated to be doing something, there must be an unmet need.  Easily understood as when you are underwater and think that breathing would be good about now, you are “motivated” to get to the surface and breath.  So too, when you find yourself yelling at your friend or child, there is something driving that as well.  There is a split in this, however.  Some are motivated to “go toward” and some that are “running from”.  They are both still moving (yelling, fighting, striving, etc) but their motives are unclear to most, and often to themselves. 

 We use euphemisms like Motivated, Driven, Action People, and Leaders for people chasing the ring.  The story of the Prodigal Son reminds us of the down side of that kind of “unmet need” but what of the “over achiever”, “workaholic”, the ambitious… Perhaps they are needing the approval of a “father figure”, or a “mentor” that is always short of giving the acceptance they crave.  So they do more.  The next degree or certification.  The next corporation to “turn around” or the making of “Partner”. The trophy house or spouse that will never satisfy.  The need is greater than these can supply.  Mostly it is a different need, not greater.  Tears of laughter are chemically different than those of pain or sorrow, but they are all wet.

Part of the drive to fill this need is the “hope” that it can be filled.  To thirst is to know that drink is to be found.  To hunger is to anticipate the satisfaction of fulfilled.  To hurt is to believe that there is healing.  CS Lewis spoke of this.  He said, “If the things of this world cannot satisfy, then perhaps we were made for a different world.”  This unmet need in us all, finds fulfilling in things not of this time and place. When this is understood we call it epiphany.  A breaking through of understanding.  It is a little piece of hope.  It is an understanding of a glimpse of that which will satisfy.  If met needs are not motivating, then they are satisfied.  If that is the case, you will standout for not being “driven”.  You are at ease when all others are in chaos.  It is notable.  In this you become a little piece of hope for others.  And then you can tell of such things that you know.

To know yourself fully includes the dark side of your soul.  To only know your forward and positive traits is to ignore your dark capabilities. The knowledge of the dark side is not to ignore your good, or its value.  Also, to know your dark side is not the bad thing.  To ignore it or to yield to it, is.  All good stories play this tension.  It is as old as humans.  It is the understanding of its depth that separates the shallow and the lofty.  To know that you are capable of great things is to also know that there is great danger of misused.  The role of chemist can bring great healing to the suffering, or great death from the misapplication of the dosage.  Bullets can bring a meal or great harm to others.  A profound vocabulary can illustrate pictures with words or destroy friendships or the hopes of a child. This is the tension of the ages.  Choices.  To choose to bring a little piece of hope is to bring a cup of water to the thirsty.  To drink it in front of them without sharing is torture.  To give to them without you taking any for yourself is grace.  Bring a cup to a friend.  It is a little piece of hope.


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