Habit of Hope

We were on our way to a destination that we were unfamiliar with, safely in the vehicle with seat belts buckled and address in hand completely hopeful that we would arrive at the right place.  In the old days, we would have looked up the address on a paper map carefully writing out the instructions so we could avoid a marital spat on the side of the road.  But neither of us was at all concerned about how we would find the address because the new-to-us vehicle was equipped with GPS. We expected with confidence that between us we could load the address, find our way, and arrive safely at the right destination.

Greg was driving and my job was to program that nifty equipment with the destination address.  How hard could that be?  Well, we were spatting pretty quickly.  He was telling me I was doing it wrong.  I was rapidly losing hope and declaring the electronic equipment to be useless.  The only good thing was that the country road was narrow and there was no place to pull over to have a full-blown spat.  How was it possible that I couldn't even load the address?  I clicked, I selected letters, and I pushed buttons.  Every time I tried I could only get so far and then it stopped.   It should not have been that hard to get directions, obviously we needed to read a manual.

We held out hope that when we pulled out the manual later on, everything would become clear to us.  And it did, it's amazing what you can learn by reading the manual.  It restores your hope.  You see the vehicle has some smarts and is trying to protect the humans from themselves by not allowing them to click away while the vehicle is in Drive.  All we needed to do was stop, put the vehicle into Park, and then program the GPS.  Or alternately, use the hands-free technology, which would have been an absolute gong-show on the trip I am describing.

Can you imagine how confused the technology would have been hearing us arguing, instead of the crisp clear commands it requires to actually function?  Somewhere in the midst of this little vignette I wondered about hope.  I wondered why some people are so resilient and keep returning to hopefulness even when faced with tremendous adversity.  I wondered how one goes about developing a habit of hope.  Then I got sidetracked on the various quotes that declare hope is not an action, a plan, or a strategy.

The quotes squish one's hopefulness until you begin to unravel the words a bit and realize that hope underpins and drives all our actions, plans, and strategies.  Does one bother with actions or plans if one lacks the belief or trust that things can be different or better?  Not usually.  At least, not unless they are directed to which totally takes the hopeful element out of the equation.  If we believe that the GPS can help us reach our destination we program it.  When it fails to work as anticipated we maintain hope that the manual will reveal some secret.  Our hopes and beliefs spur us on every day in mundane ways that we don't often associate with hopefulness.  What activities and plans do you have for your day?  What hope underlies those things?  Identify and exercise those little glimmers of hopefulness; be mindful of them.  They will lead you forward.  In the everyday and the routine you will discover that you exercise the habit of hope.   


  1. Good job, Joy, but you took the wind out of my sails! I've been working on a blog about hope this week. Oh, well! I hope mine is equally helpful!


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