I’ve been thinking about hope a lot lately.  It’s not a concept I fully understand.  For me, hope tends to be something I mostly associate with the opposite sex. Hoping for something or someone.  Sometimes it’s even the hope for something I cannot have like being able to wake up to Johnny Depp from Chocolat bringing me breakfast in bed.  One can hope right??

Often we cling to hope only because our realities are so different.  But I feel like my hopes vary so drastically from the hopes of most.  My hopes often stem from desires, but for others, hope is vision.  What they hope for is not something they don’t have because of their limitations, but in spite of them.  What a strange concept.  As a realist, hope seems absolutely ridiculous to me.  It is not tangible and may never even become a reality.  And yet we all find ourselves hoping.  I hope one day to meet someone who will love me and grow old with me. I suspect my parents have a similar hope, but more along the lines of securing my well-being.  There is no evidence that this will actualize, but I still hope as not hoping makes me face the alternative of perma-spinsterhood and a home full of cats.

In Timor-Leste, hope is something that has actualized.  After 25 years of brutality and 400 years of colonization prior to that, the hope they held in their hearts, their hope for change and a new life came to be.  I know I sound like I’m romanticizing all of this, but despite my nervousness, I was completely overwhelmed by the people of Timor Leste and their tenacity.  There is an innate desire for growth and development right down to the smallest village.  There is respect for the democratic process, even if flaws are recognized.  In fact, they are encouraged to be acknowledged as to better the process. And even though the hope for independence has actualized, hope has not disappeared altogether.  There is hope for a stronger, healthier, Timor Leste.  These are realistic hopes.  Achievable hopes.  Perhaps that is something that we can hope for – the ability to grasp our surroundings and choose to make them better.  In the end, perhaps what we should be hoping for is vision.

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