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Hope

By Kenda-Ruth Stumpf

Hope: The belief in the chance of realizing your desire. It is about whether you can realize your desires regardless of whether you will.

I apologize for starting my description of the gift that is Hope with an explanation of its Shadow. But in writing this I discovered that my explanations referenced the Shadow to explain the other aspects and thus an understanding of the Shadow seemed necessary as a foundation for understanding all other attributes.

The Shadow of Hope

Like all things, Hope has a Shadow side, a place where abused it becomes an excuse for stagnancy; expectation and arrogant confidence are shadows of Hope. Similar to the word try, which is an excuse to fail, Hope is abused when it is used as an excuse to not act. There is no such thing as too much Hope or Hope that is too great, its attributes are in the way in which it is used. When it is used to ignore evidence, reason or probability, beware; perhaps you are confusing it with Faith, which is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 1:11)

Expectation
Webster's Dictionary 1828:
A desire of some good, accompanied with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable. Hope differs from wish and desire in this, that it implies some expectation of obtaining the good desired, or the possibility of possessing it. Hope therefore always gives pleasure or joy; whereas wish and desire may produce or be accompanied with pain and anxiety.

I am not in agreement with Webster's. Linking expectation to Hope invites the Shadow. If you have not reached the point already, you may someday find yourself at a place where your doubts overtake you. Other Standers seem to be having more progress. It is common to go through a period of feeling that your MLCer is a special worst case example; he is the one who will fail to make it through the tunnel and remain in crisis until his death.

In contrast, most Standers initially believe that their spouse's MLC and will be shorter and he will thus come home sooner than everyone else's. You will not make the same mistakes; instead you will read and learn from those who have gone before. You have attached your Hopes to expectations. Attached expectations yield denial of the process which can have the consequence of reducing your threshold and lengthening rather than shortening an MLC. Not only do you risk that you will not be able to withstand Standing, but the higher the expectations, the greater a potential crash if your expectations are not realized. What an irony: those who initially think their MLCers will have a shorter crisis may experience the opposite because of the expectations. Such expectations can postpone or prevent your own growth as well as that of your MLCer. Expectations are time-line oriented, Hope is not.

Separate Hope from expectation. By not relying on the success of any particular return, you can strengthen your resolve through even multiple returns. Reserve your Hopes for the end result rather than each moment, while maintaining high Hopes for each return without expecting success in any present moment or situation. It is all right to maintain Faith and consistently believe and hope each time will work, but accept that maybe it will be next time.

I'm Kenda-Ruth and I believe in marriage.
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