Some thoughts on hope, and what it means.

There’s something about hope that just rips through the scar tissue and finds the weakness in the armor we have built up to make our lives liveable. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I am susceptible to hope because I so desperately want to believe in it. I want to believe that there is more than this.

Because this hurts. This is hard, gets harder with every year. This is unfair. Hurt isolates. Pain is not a burden we can realistically share with others, because others don’t want to be reminded of their own discomfort. Which I understand. I sympathize. I get it.

There’s a difference between living in one’s disappointment and despair, and learning to live with it. I’m not a big fan of therapy, because I’ve done that dance on and off for most of my life. I’ve found that most of the time, therapists want to sell you something — their worldview, their religion, their biases, their well-intentioned brand of new coping mechanisms and just a few more years of therapy sessions.

But at what point are we allowed to say that our specific collection of neuroses and scars are who we are? Our goal should be to treat others the way we have not been treated. The way we long to be treated. We are all fucked up. Instead of wallowing in it, or continually being victimized by it, we should want — no, long — to show someone else the love we may have never been shown.

Seeing the humanity in others should be fucking paramount. Recognizing that spark — yes, the divine spark — in some unlovable asshole is real power. It’s beauty. It is hope. It is real, the only real thing in this world.

It is the way that humans see God in this fucked up, chaotic, brutally stupid world. How do I know we want hope so badly? Look at our cultural icons. Much is made of the juvenile implications of our current cultural obsession with comic book movies, but what we’re seeing is a culture bereft of hope, bereft of connection, empty and selfish. We know, deep within us, that this is not working.

So we look for saviors. We look for gods who will love us, regardless of our stupid, selfish, fucked up selves. Who would save us. We pretend that we think they are just stories, but so many of these stories echo the self-sacrifice and unconditional love of something bigger than us. Something that would give everything if just one of us were to be saved.

People want hope. People want connection. People want love. Show it to them, even if you believe you are unworthy of it. Even if you believe that you will never find it. Resist the bullshit and see the person inside of that stranger who doesn’t see the world the way you do. It isn’t stupid, or weak, to just try.

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