At the Top of the List–Hopefulness

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope or confidence. ~ Helen Keller

As I sat with pen in hand, making my annual list of hopes and dreams, I had the very hopeful idea that the coming year of 2010 would prove to be one of the best of my life. That whisper had no sooner crossed my mind, than the voice of Doom followed, “Don’t be silly. Why would you think that?”

I was born a rather melancholy soul, a prime trait for a novelist (a glance at the Oprah picks attests to this), but one that leans strongly and easily toward pessimism in everyday living. For each hopeful idea that flutters across my mind, ten more come instantly after it to tell me why it will not work and, furthermore, how everything is going to hell in a handbasket.

If my husband does not call at an accustomed time, I rarely think the logical, that maybe he is busy—I have him dead along the highway. If the furnace makes a funny noise even once, I am certain it is not only going to break down but need total replacing. Just as soon as we bought the house of our dreams, I began to suspect a myriad of dire, unnamed problems that would result in a) financial ruin, and b) possibly the house falling down within weeks.

As odd as it may sound, however, it is precisely this darkly pessimistic attitude that has contributed to growing my appreciation of hope. Each time I fall into the cold misery of dark pessimism, it is hope that rescues me and warms and cheers me to get going again. As Karen Casey writes in her book, Cultivating Hope: “…one moment at a time, we can make the commitment to release the negative and nurture hope instead.”

Hope is a choice, one I can and actually do make each day I decide to get out of bed in the morning. Without hope, I dare not, but with it, I dare anything.

Faith goes up the stairs that love has built and looks out the window which hope has opened.–Charles Spurgeon.

So this year, the trait of Hopefulness goes at the top of my annual list of hopes and dreams. I will pray for Hopefulness, cultivate it, and deliberately practice it to help make the other dreams on the list come true.