In many ways, fear is the only true constant in our lives. We are afraid that good things might end, that we might lose something we hold precious; when in pain, we are afraid it might never subside. We are always afraid. It’s how you know you’re alive… it’s how you’re aware of your surroundings, how you anchor yourself in the present… or keep an eye on the future. Sometimes we’re afraid of the past as well… that it might return to haunt us.
But at the same time hope is there as well. And we never, ever lose hope. Yes, at times we might lose hope in our own strengths, or our passions, but we never lose hope that something’s going to happen. Even at the edge of the dark abyss, we still hope that someone’s going to save us – we need a hero to save us from the hopelessness of staring into the abyss for too long.
There’s this battle going on inside each and every one of us. Hope fights fear. And we use so many words to describe certain situations or patterns or actions: precaution, realism, pragmatism, idealism… It depends solely on what each and every one of us is expecting to happen next.
Let me give you an example. About a month or so ago I met this girl. At first, I was intrigued because she was an artist, just like me. And so we talked and talked, and we became friends. After a while, I wanted for us to be more than just friends… but I was afraid to tell her that. Because I had something to lose… I was faced with not having her at all. Relationships between human beings are always fragile; we just pretend otherwise. So I waited… and waited… until hope finally prevailed.
The hope that she might feel the same way. The hope that I might find happiness. It’s the possibility, not the certainty that fuels hope to such extremes that we’re able to ignore our fears.
So, in a way, hope can be the only thing stronger than fear. But we need to nurture that hope, we need to see past all the negative outcomes, all those possibilities that would make life unbearably painful.
If fear is what keeps us anchored in the present; what makes us feel alive, then hope is what makes us feel human. It allows us to see into the future, to catch a glimpse of what might happen. And we’re not talking about odds here: as crazy as it seems, hope is only about something being possible. Sometimes it’s even about those impossible things we’d like to make possible.