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December 31, 2009 in Uncategorized by timandcir | 7 comments
Hope 2010 is a better year.
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Trackback link: http://www.timbuk3.com/discuss/wp-trackback.php?p=2331
Timbuk3 on January 1, 2010 at 1:59 am
The human spirit is an amazing thing.
Happy New Year to you, as well.
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pnh on January 1, 2010 at 12:13 pm
I wanted to tell you all about how lit the neighborhood was this year — but at the time — I wasn’t in the mood to try to write a post about it. I’ve been here 17 years and never have I seen as many Christmas lights in each block.
Yesterday — a Dkos member titled a diary “Happy New Year Prisoners of Hope.” It quickly turned into an impromptu “black kos” diary — we gathered on the “porch” and celebrated “hope.” In case you you’ve never wandered into a “black kos” diary — don’t let the name mislead you. Sure the “official” black kos diary focuses on black history or current events — but the mood within is a celebration to which everybody is welcomed and plenty of not-black people show up. The only requirement is that you can’t bring hate. Even “trolls” and “stalkers” are welcome — as long as they leave the attacks behind.
Anyway — within that post there were various expressions of hope. I “found my voice” and managed to express how I define hope in one sentence. Hope is not an observation that things are getting better — it’s the belief that they can. In response — somebody posted something written by a Brazilian writer that elaborated on that theme — expressing it beautifully and more thoroughly.
There were several excerpts from various poets and writers. I think the most powerful message was a photo of Obama’s oldest supporter. She is a picture representation of “hope” as well as an explanation of the expression “I love you more.” Obviously — when you reach a certain age — your efforts can’t be about seeing something that indicates your own life is about to become so much better because you know at any moment — your journey is going to end. So — somebody at their last moments isn’t motivated to try to make a difference by what is happening to them — but by what can happen for somebody else. People who came before us endured far worse and kept going fueled by hope for our future because they loved us without knowing whether or not we’d appreciate it — without knowing if we’d prove worthy of the effort — without any chance of us being able to give something back to them — they loved us more.
So — when times are hard — we let go and allow hope to take even more control. We count our blessings instead of our troubles because counting our troubles won’t end well since for most of us — there are millions of stories out there that are so much worse than our own — and focusing on how much worse your life could get inspires fear and desperation. Fear and desperation leads people to do stupid things — so — it’s best to avoid that path if you can. Just in case anybody needs a reminder — torturing people and terrorist acts and wars are products of fear and desperation. You can’t add positive things to the universe with negative acts — that’s a contradiction that creates a cycle that’s difficult to break without further negative acts.
Within that diary — there was the explanation of why the words “hope,” “change” and the expression “yes we can” come together to say something meaningful and inspiring to us. There was an explanation of why it is we don’t look for immediate gains but look to the future possibilities in what might seem to be some small actions we take today. We know from experience that hasty actions often create more problems — so we prefer a more patient and considered approach.
So — yes — even though the world around us seems to be in turmoil and some situations seem hopeless — we celebrate. We celebrate harder and let hope grab us even tighter because we know that when times are hardest — that’s when you need hope most. As long as you believe things can change — that hope will give you the energy to try to make those changes. To dwell too much in the present — to really start to believe that where you are is as far as you can go — to be motivated only by a desire to make a difference for yourself and give up because there’s not enough personal reward is to create a self-fulfilling prophecy of hopelessness — a true state in which nothing will change. Changes are made by people hoping for something better — so — without hope — there can be no change.
BTW — this isn’t a promotion for Obama. Obama didn’t inspire these things within us — they were already there. The poems, the songs, the quotes that elaborate on the philosophy he “preaches” were around before him — some written long before he was born. He speaks and acts in agreement with ideology or philosophy that many of us already held. Perhaps — rather than him leading us to believe in him — maybe what he’s saying is the product of him being lead to believe in people like us. This was about the people celebrating despite the troubled times — and all the people who’ve been doing it for generations. This is about the spirit that drives us to keep on going — the amazing human spirit Tim mentioned.
Yes — we are amazing. Yes — we can and do rise above tremendous hardships and struggles and even failures to keep on going — learning and improving. Yes — if we’re patiently strive to be better than before — we can be.
As I wished for everybody on the “porch” — yesterday — I wish you all a happy new year and may you all become prisoners of hope.
Timbuk3 on January 1, 2010 at 2:06 am
I can’t explain why things like this give me hope for the fuure.
pnh on January 1, 2010 at 1:46 pm
I don’t know why that particular thing means so much to you — but it sure validates the hopes of the people who devote themselves to that kind of work and maybe illustrates why hope can’t be about the progress we’re actually making at any given point but must be about where it might lead in the future.
Of course — in your line of your work — you don’t need anybody to tell you that you need hope most when 10 experiments have failed and you feel like maybe you’ve run out of options. Hope is what makes you go on anyway — sometimes fueling yourself with the possibility that somebody else may finally get it right on experiment #25. As you work — you know that in other labs — other people are working on other projects that may lead to clues about other places to look — building blocks for options 11 – 25.
So the folks who mock “hope” don’t know what they’re missing.
That reminds me of something said to an attempt to ‘troll” the celebration I spoke of in the other post. Somebody posted that tired cliche — hope and however much money will get you a cup of coffee. One of the “celebrants” told him something to the effect that he was just proven wrong because coffee is free on the “porch” — so he was welcome to sit with us and have coffee and use his money for something else.
Timbuk3 on January 1, 2010 at 11:48 am
Is anyone else hung over?
pnh on January 1, 2010 at 2:09 pm
I’m not — but if I don’t get my behind up from here and get these folks’ dinner going — they’ll complain so much I’ll want to get drunk. I still “struggle” a bit to find words and I haven’t recovered the awareness of time. It seems like I sat down here — for just a moment as I drank some coffee — and started typing. I began typing the second post shortly after the first. See how short the second post is compared to the first? That’s a hint to how long the first might have taken.
You’d have to “be there” to know how shocked I am when I get through saying something and happen to notice the time. I swear it feels like I’ve been sitting here about 20 minutes. I keep promising my boys that since no matter how hard I try — I can’t seem to discipline myself and say only a few words — if any — that I’ll just stop trying to post any messages except for during predetermined and fixed days/times. Looks like I really need to go ahead and do that. With every intention of having dinner all done by now — I’m just about to start it. So — new year’s resolution — I’m going to be more scarce because I’m just going to have to accept my not so new anymore reality and change accordingly if I don’t want to keep on missing appointments and “ruining” things.
Timbuk3 on January 1, 2010 at 2:19 pm
“new year’s resolution — I’m going to be more scarce”
I understand, but sort of hope you break it. ;->
I’m still hung over. Gawd, I hate getting old sometimes…
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