Hope is my downfall. A bad habit. A familiar addiction.
Earlier today I found myself, as I sometimes do, lost in a cycle of checking and rechecking email, Facebook and various news sites.
“What is my problem?” I kept wondering. “What is keeping me stuck in this unproductive, de-energizing, anti-inspirational, brain-numbing nonsense?”
From talking to friends, I get the sense I may not be alone in this habit. But that doesn’t make it any easier.
And then it struck me.
The culprit is Hope.
Hope is what kept me returning to the various websites – hope that I would find a response to a message I had sent, or a new delightful video that would energize me to continue my work, or an intriguing bit of news connecting me to the rest of the world. Hoping and hoping that something fascinating would break the monotony of the Things I Have To Do But Am Trying To Avoid.
The same thing can happen in other areas of my life, too. I have hope for something – a dream, an ambition, or an as-yet-unrealized potentiality. But sometimes, rather than moving me forward, my hopefulness actually keeps me stuck. I wait and hope, rather than take action.
Hope is useful when it keeps us motivated in pursuing the things we want. It can be a strong energizing force when we’re feeling discouraged. But if we’re too focused on some imagined, potential future, we can miss what is happening right now, this moment, today.
Hope might be “the thing with feathers,” but it can also be the rock tied round my neck if I’m not careful.
Sometimes you have to ditch the hope, let the emails and news cycles (and the rest of life) do their thing, roll up your sleeves, and just start doing stuff.
P.S. Metaphors I considered for this post but did not use because, well, really, they were a stretch:
- A boulder on a hiking trail (possibly invisible? or at least hidden)
- A rare bird outside a window in a house filled with treasures
- Winding hallways
- An altar
***Prize given to anyone who can figure out how I was trying to stretch and mangle these things to fit what I was trying to say. Bonus points for creativity.***