Hope is a funny thing. In proper doses it’s often what keeps us going – the hope that we’ll find peace, achieve our goal, reach a dream. Hope is fuel for the soul.
On the other hand, an overabundance of hope can be almost paralyzing. A longing so overwhelming it keeps you from taking action, stopping you in your tracks while you wait for your dreams to work out. I’ve met more than a few people who fell prey to the Disney mentality – everything will work out in the end, if you just believe strongly enough – and that can be disastrous in its own way.
So if appropriately measured hope is inspiring and an excess amount can be incapacitating, then it seemed like the absence of hope would lead to despair.
I’d always thought of being without hope as a terrible thing, a painful void where people who’ve stopped dreaming lived. That to be without hope would be like living in a world without music – dim, gray, silent, and severe. But recently a friend helped me see things in an entirely different way.
As is often the case, we had one of our moments during bedtime a couple of months ago.
BrightSide was tucking Bear in for the night, a time of day when sensitive topics tend to rise to the surface, and they were talking about adoption. BrightSide was telling Bear that he hopes she’ll be able to meet her biological parents one day. Bear’s response? That she doesn’t have hope for that anymore.
This struck me as remarkably sad – as though Bear’s dream had died, and my sweet girl had resigned herself to this. It sounded as if she’d accepted a feeling of complete abandonment, and that made my heart ache for her.
My friend was in the room, though, and she had an entirely different perspective on this. Where I saw resignation, she saw acceptance.
She commented that Bear had finally accepted herself as a part of our family, relieving her from the pain of feeling torn between two realities. That she’d released the idea of the “other” parents she’d one day meet and embraced us as her mom and dad. That Bear was free…
Since then we’ve had other talks with our girl that make it clear one moment of letting go doesn’t mean there are no issues. I wish it did, that the human psyche is such an easy fix, but the deep seated emotions that come with adoption identity flood to the surface over and over again. Bear’s simply processing different emotional issues now, other thoughts that weigh heavily on her heart and mind.
As for me? I’m embracing the idea that we shouldn’t hold on to every hope. That there may be things we long for but, with time, grow away from needing. And that our heart will lead us to what will give us peace.