Sunday, June 01, 2008

No Hope?

I was at the grocery store on Saturday, and as I went through the checkout counter I noticed the first wave of tabloid stories about Senator Kennedy's brain tumor diagnosis, all with their sensational headlines. "SIX MONTHS TO LIVE!" said one. "KENNEDY DEATH WATCH" said another. One had a subtitle: "THERE'S NO HOPE!"

Good thing I never believe the tabloids.

I don't know any details about this person's medical condition, and even if I did -- I'm not a doctor who would be able to know what those details mean. But I do know this: THERE IS HOPE.

In a related story, I recall a conversation with someone who talked about "the worst thing that could happen" to anyone. That person said the worst thing was death. But it's not the worst thing that could happen to anyone. It's the only thing that does happen to everyone at some point. There's a time to be born, and a time to die.

So we're all terminal from the moment of our first breath, although none of us likes to think of it that way. But realizing that death is inevitable (and just at an unknown time to us) should not be a depressing thing. It should certainly not rob hope. After all, it's not the loss of life but the loss of hope that is one of the worst things that could happen to someone.

To quote part of a poem that I shared in a post last year:

If hope is false, then surely I guess,
There must be false hopelessness.
What would it mean to have false hopelessness?
Perhaps that indeed it was true hopefullness.
So let's turn it around, or inside out,
Because hope is something we can't live without.
-- Rebecca Libutti, from That's Unacceptable (2001)

Each day we wake up and do what we can, with an instinctive hope in the promise and opportunity of that day. If we think that our days are numbered less than we'd like, it just makes each day more precious and valuable. That's an economic fact -- they call it "supply and demand".

When we pray for a miracle, we do it with hope in the possibility of a miracle. Hope leads to faith, and faith fuels miracles. Even when adversity isn't spared, miracles in many forms surround the experience. I've seen that happen many times.

When life is not as we expected it to be (and really -- whose actually is precisely how they expected it to be?), it shouldn't rob hope. In fact, it is often in the face of disappointment and readjustment that we find new opportunities.

When mortality confronts us with some advance notice, some consider that lucky. When it confronts us suddenly, it is still viewed as lucky in other ways. When this life is over, all that we lose is this life, and that was the plan from the beginning. Even then, I am grateful to know that there is still much to hope for.

1 comment:

Linda said...

Very well said, Krista...I don't believe in the tabloids either.