Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

A Meditation on Hope

with 15 comments

This post may seem elliptical, even for me, but I hope it’ll make sense at the end. (You have been warned.)

Sometimes, I wonder about the feeling of hope. We need that, in our lives; we need to feel that whatever we’re doing will eventually succeed, or at least that whatever we’re doing will lead to ultimate success in whatever it is we’re trying to do.

And without hope, how could we get there? Especially as many things we try to do, such as write a book (or lengthy piece of music), require the devotion of many hours of hard and taxing work?

In the midst of such labors, maybe you’re like me and wonder if the feeling of hope makes any sense.

Is hope logical, in other words?

I don’t know if is. But I do know we couldn’t live without it.

Hoping for better tomorrows is one of the reasons the Founding Fathers of the United States drafted the Articles of Confederation, then the Constitution of the U.S. They thought long and hard about what they wanted — and didn’t want — in such documents, and realized that whatever they did (or didn’t) do, it wouldn’t be enough. Yet they had hope, and they persevered, and they eventually came up with those important, bedrock documents.

And in the Bible, many people lived in hope that God would show them the way, even if they didn’t necessarily always understand what that way was. (Many, many people did not recognize Jesus when he showed up, for example.)

Hope was the one thing in Pandora’s Box, too…the one, unstoppable thing that might make all the difference in the world.

When we’re at our lowest ebb, it’s hope that allows us to try again another day.

And it’s when all hope is gone that we slowly, surely, lose our place in this world, and wonder why we’re even here. And what good we’re even doing. And why we should bother to keep doing it.

But is hope ever truly gone? Isn’t there always something to hope for? Some reason to get up in the morning, and face the day, and smile?

I don’t have the answers to that question.

What I do have is the hope that I will find the answers to that question someday. (I know, I know; there’s that word again, in all its slipperiness.)

And sometimes, that has to be enough.

What do you think about the meaning of hope? Or about how elliptical my thought processes can sometimes be? Let me know in the comments!


Written by Barb Caffrey

May 7, 2018 at 4:08 am

15 Responses

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  1. Powerful and provocative post Barb.
    I believe there is always Hope. It maybe possible to hammer down one person and deprive them of Hope but no one can ever do that to entire populations. There will always be those who with keep the flame alight, and pass it on to others.
    Whether Hope is part of chemistry which is Humanity or whether it is part of the Survival Instinct of all Life I cannot say, but it will always be there.
    Even as the last stars go out.

    Woebegone but Hopeful

    May 7, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    • Thanks, Roger. I’m glad you appreciated my post. I wasn’t sure what sort of reception I’d get, writing that one…but I felt it had to be said.

      Barb Caffrey

      May 7, 2018 at 9:35 pm

      • Indeed Barb.
        With the flood of biased words posing as ‘news’ and people spouting ill thought-out opinions it is easy to assume the worst.
        The worst is always a threat, and at times a possibility, but there is always Hope.

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        May 8, 2018 at 1:58 am

      • Yeah, right now journalism has either two speeds: Some is good and informative. Some is so biased, you can’t even call it “infotainment.”

        We have to sift our information carefully.

        But yes, I believe hope endures and exists. All we have to do is reach for it.

        Barb Caffrey

        May 8, 2018 at 6:52 pm

      • The British late 19th century humourist Jerome K Jerome (Most famous for ‘Three Men In A Boat’) in one work ‘Diary of a Pilgrimage’ has to two main characters arguing of the height of a cathedral spire. One argues ‘The Guide Books says’
        The other retorts ‘The Guide Book? You’ll believe a newspaper next!’
        It appears some things are not actually new
        I believe Hope is an Article of Faith whatever a person’s beliefs. We keep on hoping.

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        May 9, 2018 at 2:47 am

      • I’d agree with all of that, Roger. A whole lot of what we feel is new, isn’t…and a whole lot of what we feel about things seems universal despite time, space, and to a certain extent, culture.

        Then again, convicted felon (and former US Vice President) Spiro Agnew once said, “Newspapers dispose of their garbage by printing it.” Which was too bad of him, because that “garbage” helped to bring him down and send him to jail, if I recall correctly…

        Barb Caffrey

        May 9, 2018 at 6:22 pm

      • Them and the IRS- The only way they caught Al Capone.
        Anyway, I digress.
        The problem is Barb, Papers will print (or put on line) whatever they will- be it for commercial, ‘political’ or true journalistic reasons.
        The duty then lies with reader or potential reader to judge the viability of the story. If they are inclined to agree with the view they will buy into anything no matter how slender.
        I would suggest the reading of histories from many sources and of all sorts is a means by which a person can judge if a news item has a solid base. There are patterns within history which are played out over and over again, because Human Nature, is Human Nature. Once a reader has absorbed this with an open mind then they can make their own informed judgement.
        They can agree. They can discount. They can accept the overall theme but not necessarily all the detail. They can even accept the whole item but think about the events or trend behind the story, to gain some depth and perspective.
        This can be all done without ‘fashionable cynicism’ or rabid conspiracy outlook.
        In the end , it all rests with the reader.

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        May 10, 2018 at 2:51 am

      • I agree with you there, Roger. I also try to look for what are the actual facts…along with noting patterns.

        The big problem with history, though, is that too few people seem to realize when it’s being repeated (or it could be, without certain things heading it off at the pass). And I don’t have a way around that.

        Yes, people do have to use their brains and sift, sift, and sift again to find those nuggets of truth. And yes, we definitely should read as many different sources of news as we can, if only to know what the other side(s) think.

        Barb Caffrey

        May 13, 2018 at 4:34 am

      • We do have this problem Barb in that people are wont to turn the facts into legends or leave out the bits that do not suit. This is also difficult to get into people’s heads.
        Thus a healthy amount of scepticism to individual accounts is always useful.

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        May 13, 2018 at 11:32 am

      • I definitely agree with that. For example, Martin Luther King, Jr., had two issues in his life: He had mistresses. And he had plagiarized his doctoral essay.

        Mind, the totality of his life was exceptional. He cared deeply about people. He was pro-union, pro-civil rights (obviously), believed in faith and freedom and humanity.

        But partly because his widow was also influential, and partly because people did not want to be obnoxious to her — and understandably so — this aspect (especially the mistresses) was diluted considerably.

        Coretta Scott King was a powerful woman, and a great person, in her own right. She, herself, never denied any aspect of her husband, and didn’t see any reason to do so either. I think she knew he was a complex man, and accepted that, and while she certainly didn’t like it that he had mistresses (and why should she?), that didn’t invalidate his greatness either. Which I believe she pointed out, sometimes caustically, in TV interviews.

        I’ve also known one very good man who was treated horribly because of his sexual preference. This man had a kindness, a gentleness, about him, and was a religious figure. Truly a Godly man, in nearly every respect, but the church did not like him because he was gay and refused to pretend otherwise. (This bothers me a great deal to this day, especially as other priests who had female mistresses were tolerated just fine by the establishment. If it’s wrong for the gay man, it’s also wrong for the straight man. Or better yet, just let the priests get married or have LTRs and be done with it.)

        Most of us have an Achilles’ heel, in short. But that does not make us bad people. It just means we’re flawed, and human.

        Personally, I think that makes us more interesting, not less — how we circumvent our failures (or at least our less desirable qualities) is possibly the most important thing about what we do here, beyond giving hope and encouragement to others. (Maybe I should write a blog post about that someday?)

        Barb Caffrey

        May 13, 2018 at 2:53 pm

      • I again I agree with you Barb.
        It is a ludicrous fashion these days in debates on line that if you mention a person in support to your argument you can be sure someone who opposes it will make much of some flaw in that person’s character in a desperate attempt to refute your argument.
        If we went picking on everyone who was having extra-marital relationships there would have been no FDR, Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ, Bobby Kennedy to name but a few.
        I think a blog post would be a good idea.

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        May 13, 2018 at 3:22 pm

      • I will seriously consider it, Roger.

        Barb Caffrey

        May 13, 2018 at 9:15 pm

      • đź‘Ť

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        May 14, 2018 at 2:59 am

  2. I have hope for the planet, and for individuals. Some days I question whether humanity is going to pull off survival. But then, I’ll have hope. And there’s another day.

    All we can do is our best at any given moment. So thank you for trying to put it into words.

    Hope is still in Pandora’s Box, waiting for us.


    May 8, 2018 at 9:50 am

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