Abandoning all hope may be your only saving grace

Image courtesy of Wonderlane on Flickr. Click image for artist photostream.

I hope every day.

I hope for my children to be happy and secure. I hope my husband feels everyday how much I adore him and that my marriage will be long. I hope for my parents and in-laws to always know that I appreciate them and for all my siblings and close friends to truly believe how much I love them. I hope for good health. I hope for mental clarity and emotional stability.

But there was a time that I hoped for too much and for too long. I hoped for a husband that would be truthful and faithful. I hoped for a bank account that was not in the negative. I hoped for friends that would not abandon me and an extended family that would do the right thing. I hoped for a relationship that would be emotionally and physically safe, for me and for my child. I hoped that lies were figments of my imagination and that if only I hung in there long enough, things would get better.

Hope got in the way of my ability to make decisions. Eight years were spent in the shadow of good intentions and optimism. I waited for change. I believed in reconciliation. I hoped for transformation. But it never came.

Then one morning, in the most innocent voice, my two-year-old daughter spoke. Her words echoed against our dingy rented walls, reverberating against my weakened heart.  Her honesty, her innocence, revealed a truth I had only suspected, a truth I had hoped was driven by paranoia and fear. It was time to let go of hope and hold tight to despair because in the sorrow I knew I could find the courage for change. Hope was a crutch. Acknowledging hopelessness gave me permission to create a different path, build a brighter future, and see my life through the eyes of reality.

I love this excerpt from When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron.

“When we talk about hopelessness and death, we’re talking about facing facts. No escapism. Giving up hope is encouragement to stick with yourself, not to run away, to return to the bare bones, no matter whats going on. If we totally experience hopelessness, giving up all hope of alternatives to the present moment, we can have a joyful relationship with our lives, an honest, direct relationship that no longer ignores the reality of impermanence and death.”

Hope is still very much alive in my life, only now it stems from a faith in myself rather than in the universe, and I am no longer afraid of hopelessness. Sometimes it is the clarity that we were seeking all along.


According to Dante, the gates of hell are inscribed “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”  Today’s writing prompt from Write on Edge asked us to be inspired by such a warning, in 500 words or less.

7 thoughts on “Abandoning all hope may be your only saving grace

  1. “Acknowledging hopelessness gave me permission to create a different path, build a brighter future, and see my life through the eyes of reality.”

    It’s hard to let go but sometimes necessary particularly if you plan on moving forward without someone. A hard dose of reality can be a great kick in the butt. It has been for me at times, even though painful.

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