Hope is contagious. Hope is like yeast and baking powder. It has an energy that makes things rise. If you want to know if you are good for others, ask yourself how much hope you've given them. It is there you will find your answer.
Sr. Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB author of Seasons of the Heart
Yesterday was the Boston Marathon and the Boston Globe reported that 21,963 ran in the race. Now, I'm not a runner so the idea of that many people pushing, training and preparing to run for fun is completely crazy to me. I can't even comprehend the amount of work it takes to prepare your body--and your brain--for running 26.2 miles. In the heat. With thousands of other people. But I'm sure, that the answer is a lot. But there's something I appreciate about it: it's people running toward their goals.
It's crazy in life how you wait, you yearn, you work whole-heartedly toward a goal and sometimes, you never really think that goal is going be accomplished. I bet yesterday, in the 87 degree weather, a bunch of those runners probably felt they were never going to make it. They probably wanted to quit--I have no doubt of that--but they didn't. Why not? Because they were in the midst of this goal that they've been preparing for and other people were succeeding around them. There's nothing that's more motivational than seeing other people succeed at the same goal you have.
They have this hope.
Now again, I'm not a runner. But I get what this whole thing is like because I am a writer. Writing is one of those things that so often feels like a far away, un-achievable goal. You train, you prepare, you practice, you get tips and helpful information everywhere--but there's still the doing, the trying, the waiting. The waiting in writing is the hardest part for most people.
But then, something good happens.
Maybe it's a spark of something. An encouraging word. A friend succeeding. Something that validates that what you are doing is worth something. It can be anything and it can be teeny tiny--but those things are the things that keep us hopeful. Like for me, only four days ago, I was so trapped in my own head that I couldn't make my WIP move forward. All it took was for me to stop being selfish and to approach things with a new perspective. It wasn't even my idea! That's a spark of something good and it gave me the ability to keep going.
This industry--especially for those in-between here and there--is not easy. It's not for the faint at heart or the impatient or the jealous. Those things will eat you alive. The only way to survive the bad things that want to tie you down, is to have hope.
My friend Cindy said to me today "I'm happy. I have hope. Hope is a happy thing."
And she's right. Hope is a happy thing.
You know what else hope is? It's contagious. The more we spread it around, the happier people will be while we are training or waiting or running and about to pass out.
Wherever you are in this race, if you are feeling tired or impatient or not good enough. If you want to turn around and quit before you even get to start, then say something to someone you trust. Maybe you will find some hope to keep going. If someone can one 26.2 miles in a few hours, you can do this too. Have hope.
I hope you come to find that which gives life a deep meaning for you. Something worth living for--maybe even worth dying for-- something that energizes you, enthuses you, enables you to keep moving ahead.
Ita Ford Maryknoll