{advent hope}

Sometimes things don’t go as planned.  I’m sure that’s an obvious fact to you, my blog reader.  But I’ll give an example anyway.

I frequently place books on hold at the library.  A while back, I placed John Grisham’s latest novel, The Racketer along with Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior.  I was number 1,023 [not really, I can’t remember the exact number but it was in the 100s] on the Grisham wait list.  The Kingsolver number wasn’t near as large.  I figured what are the chances they’ll arrive at the same time?  Slim, very slim.  Meanwhile I was reading Anna Karenina on my Kindle [I got it for free, since it’s a classic].  I wanted to finish reading it before I watch the movie that was just released.  But alas, Tolstoy [the author of AK] is anything but brief and I was about 45% through the novel when I got the library notice:

Flight Behavior is ready to be picked up.

Mind you, on these newly released bestsellers, you only get a 14 day window to read them.  I put AK aside, and started in on Flight Behavior.  Which I’m still reading.  Meantime, I received another notice:

 The Racketer is ready to be picked up.

Meanwhile [again…..], I like to read a non-fiction book while reading fiction.  It keeps me balanced.  I’ve been reading Outliers.  I’d put The Happiness Project on hold a while back [another huge wait list]. Well, it’s now in my possession because it became available too.  Fortunately, it’s not a 14 day-er, so I’ve got a good month to conquer it.

Lest you think I feel my library/reading issues are a big deal, I don’t.  It’s just an example of what seems to happen when I try to balance out an aspect of my life that really is out of my control.  I can’t pick and choose when the library books become available.  Sure, I could  purchase all my reading material, but that would get mighty expensive.  I simply HOPE it all works out.

I believe most of us understand the concept of love.  You’ve heard it as many times as me…..”the word LOVE is overused.”  We love our spouses.  We love pizza.  We love San Diego.  We love all the merchandise sold by Anthropologie.  We love the ring inherited from Grandma.  And really there’s absolutely no comparison because I’d give up pizza forever if my husband’s welfare depended on it and though San Diego will always hold a sentimental place in my heart, I might never return.

We get faith too.  We understand there are some things we can count on.  I know for a fact my dad is there for me if I ever need ANYTHING (like money).  Unless he goes through a horrific brain shift, that’s not going to change.  He will never willingly allow me to become homeless or destitute.  I know my husband will never, ever eat corn.  He had a bad experience with it once.  These are things that won’t change.

But hope, hope is somewhere in between and I think somehow we’ve misplaced it.  We use the word a bunch, like we do love.

I hope I get an A.
I hope I receive a raise.
I hope it doesn’t rain.
I hope my car doesn’t run out of gas.
I hope I can sell my home.
I hope he calls.

But we also go out of our way and use preventive measures.

We study to get the A.
We work to get the raise.
We take an umbrella just in case and some of us even have cute rain boots.
We watch the gas meter and fill up before it becomes worrisome.
etc. etc. etc.

Yesterday my husband, daughter and I went to the discount theater and saw The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  Again, things often don’t go as planned.  I’d hoped for one of those teenage angst type films.  A few laughs, maybe a tear, and then we’d get on with the day.   I have to tell you, a movie has not affected me like that in years.  I’m a reflector.  I’m a processor.  And I, probably more so than most, think back to the past and sometimes unhealthily dwell there.  This movie took me back to 16 again.

Upon leaving the theater, I wanted to begin giving my daughter a speech.  Maybe I should write her a letter.  I just want to make sure she knows.  And I need to include my son, who didn’t see the movie, but needs to know these things…..

Don’t choose the punk over the kid who likes Hemingway.  Dreams of Cal Berkeley should always trump dreams of the US Marine Corp.  Because ex-Marines often end up fat and people who like Hemingway end up in cool places like the Pacific Northwest.
Don’t choose the popular people over those who compliment you when you wear your aunt’s old clothes from the 1960s you found in your grandma’s garage.
Be yourself.  It’s alright to dress up even if it seems the entire world is wearing jeans.  Befriend the people who are different because they’re probably more interesting than those who aren’t different. 
Be patient with the people who’ve been through much.  Not everyone has had the fortune you have.  And be patient with those who have never been through anything worse than a B- on a test.  They need love too.  Because hardship is relative.

And always, always hope.  Hope the world will change.  Hope we’ll no longer need the US Marine Corp and no one will end up fat.  Hope someday we’ll live in a world where Goodwill always trumps Abercrombie, because that’s probably how it should be.  Don’t conform.  Because conformists end up in the suburbs.  

I apologize for the scattered nature of this entry.  I’ve thought about [hope] for over a week, and just couldn’t seem to write anything that measured up to my thoughts.  I’ve rambled.  I hopefully haven’t offended you.  I do wish you a {hopeful} holiday and new year.

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