So Dysfunctional Families regular somewhere else has been talking about the move from surviving to thriving, and one bit struck me especially strongly:
What has helped along the way: patience, kindness, more patience, one warm meal per day (oven-ready meals and the like count!), crying whenever I needed to cry, lots of pictures of cute animals, praise (no matter how undeserving I felt) for every step taken, bare-bones hope.
I want to expand a bit on the last point. I don’t know how other people commonly experience hope, but for me it certainly isn’t this shining beacon or light in the dark it tends to be compared to.
Throughout the years it meant holding on with my fingertips, dragging myself through another day, for no particular reason (at least I couldn’t give one), going on without knowing what I might end up with since the things I wanted to achieve weren’t lost to me, I often never had them in the first place. And somehow I think that hope was beneath it all, in its most basic form. The knowledge every living being possesses, the possibility of growth, of reaching for the sun.
To me, hope has always seemed like the neglected virtue in the trifecta, the one that got invited just to make up the numbers. Love is the “greatest of these”, and I’m certainly a big fan. Faith is kind of a given in the New Testament, with all its mustard seeds and mountains moving. Hope? Classic overlooked middle child.
But then, DF is all about the neglected siblings, the undervalued people, the unconsidered treasures. And I’ve always felt like Hope is that kind of a virtue. It’s that thing I do when I don’t have the resources to go out and love, or faith’s belief that things will get better. Hope is the thing that stays when everyone else is gone; the one I can afford when the other two are too expensive. It’s the friend who meets me where I am and does the thing I’m doing. If all I can do is wash the dishes, Hope will stand with me and dry them. If I’m in the place where I go to cry, Hope is the one who left a box of tissues there. Hope is who I talk to when I unburden myself, because it’s the possibility of a betterment when I can’t bear to believe in one. Hope witnesses.
In Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, hope is the force that defeats “the dark at the end of everything”.
YMMV, of course. Void where prohibited or not in your emotional vocabulary. Objects in mirror may be more wonderful than they appear.
This is part of the sequence of Dysfunctional Families discussions. We have a few special rules, specific to the needs and nature of the conversations we have here.
Previous posts (note that comments are closed on them to keep the conversation in one place):