The Dark side of Hope…

I know how this resolves
But I don’t
That bastard Hope
Covers me in a thousand wounds from his hooks

I wrote these lines as part of a larger piece when I was in an incredibly dark place about six months ago. I can’t recall the specific thing that triggered me writing this out, but the entire time frame was very bad for me. Although I still find myself in some pretty dense shadows at times, I’ve worked through most of it. And that I attribute to having a much better understanding of Hope.

Universally, Hope is touted as this magically good thing. There is no darkness in Hope as viewed through our desire to not feel miserable. Society does an excellent job at perpetuating Hope as the best trait developed by humanity, and Hollywood does some pretty damn good P.R. for it too. (Example of said Bullshit below.)

I wish that I could have found the same qualities in Hope as I struggle to make sense of my ailing marriage. I wish that the magic of Hope that everyone believes in were real.

But it’s not.

I spent a lot of my soul and sanity ‘hoping’ that my wife would listen to my words, that she would bring about what I was desperately asking for. I hoped in so many ways for a sign that we were on a path to healing together. I hoped that by working on myself, by changing my very core, that she would adjust course as well.

But as I struggled with my own changes, I learned that expectations were a large source of my struggles. I had plenty of unrealistic expectations, and I slowly learned how to break them down into little pieces and get rid of them. For the most part it did help. I saw her for who she was, not who I wanted her to be.

But still, my heart ached, and my soul was slowly crushed.

As I dropped expectations, I held onto Hope. Only now, I could see what I was dealing with, and a great internal struggle within started. It took a while to sort it out, but without expectations in place, Hope seemed so pointless. But I was still holding on to it. I could SEE that things were the way they were, the Truth was right in front of my eyes. And here was Hope, smiling that stupid, magical grin, telling me that things would be perfectly fine.

It ripped me to shreds. It was like a scene from Hellraiser. Only it was all inside of me, and the flesh being torn asunder was my soul.

I dropped Hope like a red hot ball bearing in the palm of my hand. I simply gave up on it. Hope was dead to me. As long as I could see the reality of my situation, I wasn’t giving Hope a chance.

That stopped the bleeding.

My counselor is very good at seeing me, well, at least what is going on with me. She let me have my Hope-free time. Let me come back to a level place, let me clean up the blood of my soul. Then one day out of the blue, she asked me about Hope. I told her that didn’t intend on having any.

She asked me to think about that over a couple weeks as I pondered some recent good things about my relationship. Now, these ‘good things’ weren’t going to save my marriage, but they were nice while they were there and I appreciated the break from the gloominess. So I considered Hope.

And I realized that Hope isn’t inherently bad. It hadn’t actually done anything to me. I had simply misused it in a time where I had nothing else and was hurt by the results. I dove deeper into the thoughts and realized that all my disappointments regarding Hope involved me ‘Hoping’ that my wife would do/change/accomplish something. Every time I was shattered by Hope, it was because I was placing it in the hands of someone else.

And I saw what my counselor was getting at.

Hope is something you want in your life. But it has to be used wisely. Putting it in the hands of another is not wise. Who among us can claim that we have control over another? So why let Hope blind us when others will do what they do?

I’ve learned that even though I stopped saying “I hope she…”, that I should keep saying “I hope I…

Place Hope squarely on yourself, of which I hope that you do have a modicum of control over, and you can wield it like a tool and make great things happen.

I have let Hope back into my life. But I always keep it close now. Never again will I let it too far away from my grasp.

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