Isn’t that how we feel sometimes? Isn’t that the thought that parks itself in our mind, that aches like a toothache, and kills with its false comfort?
Better, we think, to live there, than to see our hopes crushed again.
Easter Sunday, hundreds of millions of people around the world will hear about “hope.”
Might be you. Might be me.
Might think, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Been there, done that.”
The dictionary says “hope is a belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life.”
Hope is “confident expectation” that things will turn out OK, that what’s been promised is true.
For instance, most people are reasonably confident technology will keep working and lead us all to more fulfilling lives. A positive outcome.
Thursday, when phone cables were cut in San Jose, much of Santa Cruz County discovered that confidence might be misplaced.
Our expectations that we could use our cell phones, log onto the Internet, use a credit card or get some money from an ATM suddenly turned into an anger over the evil, selfish actions of “saboteurs.”
Young people who have hardly experienced a time when they couldn’t text message, much less stay in constant Facebook contact with their network of “friends,” were at first perplexed, then nearly panic-stricken, and finally suspicious.
At the Sentinel, like many businesses, we’re utterly dependant on phones and Internet connections to keep contact with the outside world, not to mention keeping our 24/7 Web site functioning, much less ensuring you have a printed newspaper in your hands every morning. Reporters walked around staring at cell phones, as if the devices would suddenly take on a living form and speak to them. Instead all they got back was silence.
The disruptions put police and hospitals on alert and caused a series of problems for banks and other businesses. I spoke to one lady frightened after her intruder alarm system went off because of the disconnect. She suddenly realized how vulnerable she was, we all are.
For people frazzled and disheartened by the chaotic economic mess we’ve been experiencing for more than a year, it might have seemed too much.
If Wall Street and technology — if the best and brightest of modern life — can’t be trusted, what can?
If vandals are plotting even now to cut phone lines, and hackers have the ability to shut down businesses and our nation’s infrastructure, who wouldn’t be worried about the future?
So, our hope that everything will work out, would seem misplaced.
Instead of “hope,” we substitute “worry.”
And that just spirals.
Worry whether the money will be there at the end of the month to pay the mortgage payment, the doctor’s bill, the credit card charges. Whether we’ll have a job next week, next month.
Worry whether our kids are all right, whether they’ll ever outgrow adolescence, whether they’ll go to college, and if so, which one?
Worry about the weather, the traffic, what the boss thinks about us, what our coworkers are telling the boss.
Worry about crime and terrorists and pirates and the kind of nihilism that causes someone to wipe out a dozen people or kidnap and kill children.
Worry about tomorrow, always tomorrow, as if there is a tomorrow and as if it is real.
But worry avails nothing. It doesn’t change circumstances, nor can it add a moment to our life.
Worry just recognizes that clearly I’m not in control, and that the rest of the world is out of control, and that’s the end of the story.
But the story doesn’t end there. It begins anew with the resurrection of hope.
It’s been said that hope deferred makes the heart sick. In other words, we thrive on hopes real and realized.
Without hope, life loses meaning and our decisions to act on behalf of others and for succeeding generations seem futile and nonsensical. The great religions were built on hope. For thousands of years, people have hoped for what they did not see, hoped promises would be fulfilled, hoped it would indeed be better for their children and their children’s children.
Hope is not aimless positive thinking that grins when everyone else is grieving. It’s that confident expectation there are answers.
And what are these answers?
That’s the Easter message. Faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love.