“Hope when you’ve got nothing else, he once told us. But if you´ve got anything else, then for Heaven’s sake, Do it!”
Interestingly I came across this quote this week while reading Neil Gaiman’s Interworld. I had never heard this perspective on hope, and I had to chew on it a bit. When I read the above line from the novel it gave me pause…
As I rolled it over in my head, I wasn’t sure it jived with me out of the gate. I love hope. I live on hope, I suck the nectar of hope from every flower I pluck. Hope is that sweet scented carrot on a stick onto which I carved all my dreams. Was I supposed to regard the first half of that line as a modified welcome mat at the door of Dante’s Inferno, abandoning hope with an asterisk on having absolutely no other options?
The part of me that found this quote attractive was the teeny tiny cowboy in my psyche, sitting in the corner doing shots of tequila and smoking roll your owns while hawking my throat clear every 90 seconds. I scratch my nine day beard with my revolver and declare hope for cowards, that it’s only action that counts. Doing is what makes things happen, not wishing like some drunken horny toad hopin’ he don’t get squished by no car while crossin’ the road.
Any Law of Attraction motivational speaker can ask the crowd the one requirement to successful manifestation and once we sift out belief and positive thinking, what is left in the pan is taking action. Hope without action is just drifting clouds, when-I-win-the-lottery lists, someday sonatas.
Then I scrawled the line on the mirror in my mind and looked at it from the other direction. This quote is not advising one to take action without having hope cheering and yelling and jumping on the sidelines. We can let hope rub our shoulders and give us pep talks when we’re sitting in our stool on the corner and spitting into the bucket until the bell rings again, but the fights are won during the bouts when we’re on our feet sticking and moving.
The thing is, at some point, we run out of obvious choices. We are too exhausted to take any more actions. We stand in front of the Road Closed sign and nightfall is minutes away. This is where the meat of this quote comes into play. When there is no other turn to take, that is when we cast out our line of hope. Because we do not see any other options does not mean they are not there. They are invisible to us at the moment, but hope serves as a flashlight or a lantern that illuminates the hidden paths.
Hope also allows us to molt the uselessness of that which we had employed up to the point of exhaustion. Hope enables us to recognize that all of our efforts toward our goals and visions serve us well even if they do not enable us to succeed in reaching them at the current moment.
So when I read the line “Hope when you’ve got nothing else”, I truly believe when all seems to be exhausted, you are never left with nothing else as long as you have hope.