Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Darkness of Hope

“Now go write a blog about how possessing a large capacity for hope can be destructive.”


We should take a peek at the dark side of hope now and then. A little darkness does the soul good. It is a prickly one. Hope is a bottomless gullet that will slurp us into it’s depths until it consumes everything we were. It is a wicked tar pit that sticks to us and forces us to believe what’s not really there. It can obliterate rational thought and make the strong and the weak equally likely to stumble off the metaphorical cliff and straight into all sorts of very real hell of our own making.

“Really? That’s your view of hope?” you might say.

Oh, there’s much more to it than that, says I.

A poor man looks at the wealth of the world. He hopes that he can attain his share of it. All he needs is money. Money to care for his family. Enough to provide a good home. Money to put his children through school and ensure they have have a good start on life. A little more to be able to treat his wife they way she deserves. Perhaps a little extra to help others that were once like him. He hopes for that day when he can do all the things his heart and mind tell him he could do with just a little money. He goes to the same minimum wage job day after day and he hopes. Then one day he wakes up, he eats his breakfast alone, he prepares for work, and he’s an old man; still working, still poor, still hoping.

A girl loves a boy. He loves her, as well, but it’s different. Not the childish “I love you, but like a...” kind of difference.  She is convenient and familiar to him. He’s used to her. It’s just not deep enough, just not pure enough, and she feels it. There is something vital missing, something wanting, an empty spot that doesn’t fill in right. Something that should be there, but is somewhere else. She fills it with other things. She hopes that love will grow to fill the part that’s missing. She hopes that it will change them. She hopes that, in time, a spark will fill the empty spot and love will work out right. She hopes it will with everything she can muster. Years later, years of hoping, no growth, no change, no spark, the thing that’s missing is still missing. Hope dies and they part.

A young man spends his youth hoping to be a star. He learns guitar and learns first that he must practice. All the time. He hopes that he has the time, that the time will just open up. He goes out with a girl. He watches a movie. He helps his family with all the little things a family needs.  He spends evenings with his dearest friends. He goes to college. He lives his life day by day, hoping that the time will come when he has time. He hopes and the guitar sits in the garage, covered in dust, a small brown spider nesting amongst the strings that rust away waiting for time.

A little girl lies in bed, awake in the earliest morning hour. She hopes her father will come soon to tuck her in and tell her good night. It is long past time, but she hopes. Her eyes burn, from lack of sleep and the effort of holding back the tears, and the churning in her stomach, and trembling in her chest. She clutches the blanket in her tiny hands, pulling it to her face, and she hopes in the dark that soon he will come through the bedroom door. As he always has before. She hopes he will tell her sweet dreams, and kiss her forehead, and tell her he’s always there. But she doesn’t believe. Not now. It’s too late. The hope is not joy, it does not bring anticipation, it doesn’t sooth, it amplifies the fear tenfold that there will be no Daddy tonight.

Hope. How can a simple word that should bring joy and promise be such a detrimental thing?

It’s because hope can not stand alone. Hope without something else is just empty wishing. Hope needs inspiration. Hope needs conviction. Hope needs faith. Most importantly, hope needs love. Hope without love is love without hope. A pointless exercise at best.

A person can’t hope for inspiration, they must be inspired by hope. They can not hope with conviction, they must draw conviction from hope. They can’t hope for faith, they must place faith in hope. They can’t hope to love, they must feel love to have hope.

A large capacity for hope can be be destructive on it’s own. Inspiration, conviction, faith, and love melded with a large capacity for hope is tremendously powerful.  Hope is not result of what we wish. Hope is only the promise. It is up to us to keep it.

At least, I hope so.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Five Pictures One

A friend recently posted several pictures in a sequence to which she added a little written detail. A story for each one, of sorts, or some sort of reflection on the photo itself. I like that idea. It's a neat visual/written exercise. I think I'll give it a try. Thanks, Heather!

The exercise: Five random pictures and then write something about each one. Easy enough. Whatever popped into my noggin. I started by going through and randomly selecting pictures but kept thinking, "No, I don't want to write about that!"  Which completely defeats the purpose.

The point of this is to force me to write. So, I tried again. I have thousands of photographs on my computer and probably hundreds more prints laying about. I used the highly scientific method of closing my eyes, and clicking on a file, or picking one from the stack and scanning it. I'm all about science.

 Here's what came up.

Allison at Geoffrey the Giraffe's birthday bash in 2005. She would be about three in this picture. Her hair still gets crazy like that. What I love most about Ally is that she's a kid. I mean full tilt, nothing is going to make her grow up, all out kid. She loves being a kid. Her whole day is all about just being Ally and doing Ally-things. She'll talk to a complete stranger in line at the grocery store like they're her best friend (we've always had to watch her on that one). She'll play in her own little world for hours. She creates with abandon and without fear. It's rarely about if she can do something, but always about enjoying it until it gets done.

Every day that little girl teaches me how to be a child, and when I grow I want to be just like her.

Movie Night. So, this one time, I took the girls to the movies. For three of us to watch one movie was $65. Holy crap! We still do it on occasion because, let's face it, you can't beat a movie in a good theater, but more often than not it's Movie Night at home now.  That starts with a group trip to Reasor's. Orville Redenbacher Movie Butter Popcorn is a given. A 30-minute debate on the merits of the different $1 box candies ensues and then we end up buying all of them anyway. With the movie rental, we get out of the whole thing for under $20 and have an excellent family night.


Car of the Beast! What's the fascination with all 6s. I mean I get the whole number of the beast thing. Blah, blah, blah. But that's just 3 6s. I think it's become more of a joke than a symbol now-a-days. What's it they say about the devil's greatest trick? Regardless, I can see my engine light is on. Drat. In the words of Penny from BBT, "I really need to put a sticker over that."

Next milestone on the odometer? 80085!

Friday Macfay. This would have been early in the Wrath of the Lich King xpac. Friday was taking a shot at tanking once again, hence the shield. Tanking sucks, so that didn't last long. I don't have space here to explain fully what this game means. To me, one of the most important things is the realization of the type of game we always wanted to play while sitting in front of our green and black screens and typing commands into Zork. WoW really is.

Yes, my toon on World of Warcraft is a girl. When you create a character for the first time you're presented with two options: male or female (or, the rough equivalent if you're playing an Orc). Since the game is played from behind the character in third person, I wasn't about to spend hours upon hours staring at some dude's hard roll. Blah. I do have a male character now, but he's a mage, so he wears a dress. Some dude in tight leather armor is not for me, but a crossdressing wand wielder is apparently okey-dokey. 

MacKenzie and me in the Hudson Valley around 2002. I don't know how much she remembers, but it's awesome that I got to take my perfect little girl to spend time in such a beautiful and historic place. Kenzie is smart and kind and talented. She always had been. She likes Dr. Who and music and has a curious imagination about her that is amazing and facinating.  She's truly the light of my world. I hope I can be like her every day, too.

I'll have to scan the rest of these pictures.

Now, what's up with the fucking vest, right?

Okay, so many moons ago I was dating a girl who worked at one of the shoe stores down at Utica Square back in 89 or 90-ish. Not my natural environment, of course, but The Things One Does. One day K and I are tromping around down there because apparently sitting in a shoe store mooning over a girl is "creepy and bad for business," and we round a corner and there's this new store called Banana Republic. Not to be confused with the store of the same name at the mall, which is now entirely different and lame these days. Inside the original store was all the jungle, hiking, camping, safari-style clothing and accessories you could imagine. It was awesome. In a big pile in the front of the store was a bunch of sale items. I start digging through and come up with this vest (the original one was blue). It had pockets, and more pockets, and inside the pockets . . . were pockets!  It was only $10 and since that's what I had, I bought it. I've been wearing the same style vest ever since. 

I don't fashion very well.

So, there's five. Might have to try this again.