Saturday, April 4, 2009


I don’t think about breathing very much. It rarely comes up. Unless of course, I can’t – then it’s the only thing that matters. Hope is like that for me. It’s everything, but I am not thinking about it that often. It’s like oxygen for my soul.

I am not sure what is more powerful, hope, or the absence of it. Much like the panic that strikes when one is suffocating, the loss of hope brings out a desperation previously unknown.

I have a neighbour who, whenever I see him, asks me ‘so what do you think about the economy’. In fact he’s phoned me twice to ask that question. The financial meltdown feels like a kick in the stomach. Doubled over, he’s winded and thinking he’ll never breathe again.

What’s he really asking? Does he honestly believe I have some answer he hasn’t read in the papers, or that he hasn’t heard already from much smarter people? I have this sense that he isn’t asking me about the economy at all. I think he’s running low on hope, and is coming next door to ask for some.

How do I reconcile my circumstances when I travel to places where the situation is so desperate? How do I make sense of my life when I have those close to me losing theirs to cancer? What do I say when the relationships of people I love shatter? What do I do when I realize I am not nearly the person I want to be?

If this is all there is, then fuck it.

Hope can be stolen by circumstance, but isn’t derived from it. For me, hope comes from the strong belief that there is more to life than my experience of it. It’s not about heaven, or the life hereafter. It’s about a bigger sense of the present. This present eternity.

Hope isn’t something I choose, it’s something I realize I have, one breath at a time.


  1. "This present eternity." My favourite phrase this month. And I've had several favourite phrases.

  2. Where did that "strong belief" from which you derive hope come from?

    Can your neighbour access that, or is he doomed to forever, or at least in this present eternity, get his hope from the newspaper, or not?