Well, today certainly IS a new day! I awoke with a refreshing 4 ½ hours of sleep (believe me, this is “good” news, having only been able to sleep about 2-3 hours a night for the past 3 weeks!) and seem to have a bit more mental clarity than usual. The aches/pains of my relapse are still upon me, but it is amazing how much easier they are to tolerate when feeling more rested. I hesitantly whisper a “HooRah” out loud, now believing I may emerge on the other side of this MS relapse intact. In the words of dear Martha Stewart, “It’s a good thing.”
I thought today might be one in which to focus on that ever used and common word: HOPE. I’m currently wearing the red MS Band O’ Hope on my wrist. You know, the one the National Multiple Sclerosis Society has mass-produced to raise awareness and money for the cause? I frequently hear people talk about a “hope” for a cure, a “hope” they remain healthy, a “hope” for this and that. But what does “hope” really mean?
Dear Merriam-Webster defines hope as follows: hope noun 1. expectation of something desired. Interestingly enough, Roget’s Thesaurus defines hope as a verb. 1. To have a fervent hope or aspiration. To aspire.
So who’s right in this grammatical exchange? Is the darned word a noun or a verb? And how could the two world’s leading grammarian experts NOT agree on the word being an action word or a substantive description? It is only a four, letter word and two of which are vowels!
This brings up an interesting point of conflict for me as I travel down my own road of MS and “hope”. I don’t always agree with the use of this word either and I don’t always agree with the way I hear it used by others. Sometimes the word down right stings in my ears. Especially when I’m being told things like, “Well, let’s hope today is a better day for you”, or “Well, there’s always hope for a cure”. These well intentioned, but patronizing statements make me wish the word “hope” was a substantive noun I could physically drop kick into the next universe! And these statements generally come from good-hearted folks who have no idea what the ramification of their words mean to me.
Most of the time, I can just accept other people’s “hope” for me as a verb, an aspiration, or a wish. They DO always mean well. But instead, what I would rather they talk to me about is their feelings behind the “hope cloak”. Their sense of NEEDING to or HAVING to aspire me to something else, because MS just plain sucks. (Which by the way, “aspire” means to rise to great heights…and that is assuming you are low enough already to have somewhere higher to go!)
Multiple Sclerosis is a scary beast. It doth work in mysterious ways. It is unpredictable and undesirable. It, alone, has resulted in much aspiration, desperation, and consternation. It is highly unlikely there will be a cure found for this disease in my lifetime. It is a higher probability I will continue to progress down its path however the disease will take me until such a time I no longer function. These are not “hopeful” thoughts, but they are an accepted reality for me. My “hope” is to give my friends permission to be scared, too, and not have “hope” so hard for me.
Yet there is still a small voice inside my head whispering “hope”. There is an aspiration inside me to make the most of this moment today. There is a burning desire to enjoy as much of this moment as I possibly can take in. There is a push to breathe and to see beauty in the sunshine today. There is a craving to take in all the sights, sounds, and flavors around me. And, there is a longing to be disease free and without worry.
I believe Roget’s Thesaurus and I are more in line with the action idea of “hope”. It IS something one must aspire or do for themselves and not something a well-intended friend can give you. But… thank you for trying, my dearest ones. I “hope” this clears some things up for you.