Some times I have to wonder....just what is "hope". Is it eternal optimism that all things will work out in due time? Is it a yearning for good things to suddenly appear on the horizon?
While both ideas seem plausible, it seems to me that hope is more synonomous with faith. I cannot realistically expect that life will be free of troubles. There are simply too many variables for that to hold true. Things completely out of my control can, and will, affect me in some form or fashion. Work, recreation and life are all affected by decisions made by others. The most I can do is meet the adversity with a full understanding that I must move forward to the best of my ability. Thus, I do not believe hope is a deep rooted belief that all things will simply be "ok" in the end. Reality dictates that some things do not work out well. For instance, we sometimes have external forces that affect our lives that makes our position untenable. Where we once enjoyed, we sometimes find ourselves in an opressive environment. We can "hope" things get better, but we sometimes find in due time we cannot "expect" any change.
It seems I then want to look foward and "hope" a new change appears that improves my situation. I "hope" conditions change that will allow me to return to my comfort zone. What I am really doing is waiting for external forces to again change for the better. I have no more control over that than I did when they forced change to my detriment. No, certainly, hope is not passive....it must be active.
Thus, I am left with the notion that "hope" is more like faith. It requires some participation on my part. Hope is centered around the notion that I can be neither an optimist nor a pessimist. I can no more "expect" things to get better than I should "expect" things to never improve. I believe hope requires me to believe I can make changes using the skills and attributes that make up the very existence of my being. Hope, to me, appears to be more of a state of mind that shouts out "I have the ability, I can move forward, I shall not submit myself to continued despair". Rather than standing still waiting on some sort of change, hope requires us to move forward seeking the change that we so desparately require.
If I use hiking as an analogy, it would seem that some people could huddle in the shelter during a rain storm and "hope" it quits raining. However, as I see hope, it requires that I continue on the trail with the "hope" I will complete my journey, as expected and therefore, find myself out of the rain.
Without hope, it is clear I would not move foward. But, having hope without taking that first step is nigh on to worthless. It is sometimes said that "faith" is taking a step into the dark with the expectation that your foot will plant itself on firm ground. Is "hope" not much the same?
The next time I find myself saying "I hope this works out"...I will follow it with the question "What am I doing to ensure it will". This, I think, will always be the path to happiness.