hope is a terrible thing

I heard this piece yesterday on NPR and the following lines hit me in a very deep way:

“Living in hope is a really terrible thing.  People speak about hope most of the time as a very positive thing, and I understand why…But if you stop and think about the state of living in hope,  it’s a very dispossessing thing, it’s a very difficult thing to live with. When you’ve been living in hope for a long time as I have, suddenly you realize that certainty is far more desirable than hope.”

Of course, I thought about my people in the ALI community.  And I thought about myself back when the ex and I were actively trying for a baby, back when that felt so possible I could think of little else, when my arms felt so empty, partly because it felt possible, yet just out of reach.

Hope gives us reason to get up in the morning, but it is also that Terrible Gray, that not-black-not-white space that won’t allow you to let go of the dream.  You’re left in the hospital waiting room indefinitely, never knowing, just hoping.

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8 responses to “hope is a terrible thing

  1. Oh, this is so true. So very, painfully true. My heart goes out to the family in the piece. And to everyone in hope.

    I’ve often railed against hope. Somedays it hurts almost too much to bear.

  2. I heard something similar once and was surprised at how much it struck me and caused and ah-ha moment. That realization that hope isn’t always a good thing and can instead leave us hanging in a sort of limbo, waiting for something that might happen.

  3. I saw another blogger look at those words and feel something similar….she wrote on certainty being the bigger boon.

    Hugs, R.

  4. Hello, Quiet. You know, I heard that same piece, and it moved me too. I reflected on the two edged nature of hope. I think what the piece was talking about was the dark face of hope. It often feels like a pin jabbing, preventing one from rest, when it’s in its Dark phase.

  5. I missed that piece until right now. Here is the question: if we could effectively banish hope from our lives, would we? I don’t know — I think about the things I wouldn’t have done if I had known they were pretty much impossible. And I also think about the time I could save myself by not leaving myself in the hoping space indefinitely without an exit.

  6. For me, hope was a dangerous thing. It kept me trying longer than I wanted to. It kept pushing me to the next step, when my heart hadn’t healed from the last disappointment. I think it slowed down the recovery process. I know it can be a wonderful thing, but it also can be very painful.

  7. I heard this same quote on NPR, and completely forgot to blog about it. It was so very refreshing to hear someone be realistic about the downside of hope, instead of just all “glorious hope and puppies and sunshine” thing that most people give.

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