Thursday, September 26, 2013

Hope vs Hopelessness

I was sitting out at our local AAA baseball stadium on a perfect summer afternoon with a few friends and we got to talking about how it was possible that huge numbers of Americans were facing a retirement of, if not outright poverty, at least greatly diminished expectations. These were not, by-and-large, lazy gits who just never paid attention. Mostly they are ordinary people who worked at various jobs all their adult lives, and now they are facing ritirement with nothing - or not enough - set aside. Why wasn't there a huge outcry about this? "Because," one of my friends opined, "they have given up. Nothing they have tried has worked out. They've just lost hope."

It took a few days for this to really sink in for me. America has always been a hopeful society. We expected more, we expected better. Each generation building on the work of those who came before. Have we lost this vital aspect of our national character? Have we really given up trying because we've given up hope? Has cynicism become so widespread as that? Raising a generation of children so poorly nourished that, for the first time ever, they are not expected to live as long as their parents. Drastically lowered expectations of financial progress, or even basic security. The feeling, more and more frequently expressed, that "everyone is cheating everyone else". Unemployment dragging on now for years with no real end in sight. Fighting over shares of what is increasingly viewed as a smaller pie. Is this the future we are going to accept? Have we really given up?

In Proverbs 29:18 the bible cautions us that "Where there is no vision, the people perish." How is your vision? Are you making progress? Are you on your way? Is your tomorrow going to be better than today? Or have you lost hope that you will ever realize it?

As we move now from summer to the near perfect days of autumn, what better time to take stock. If your vision and attitude and outlook need a tuneup, now is the time. Remember, vision is your dream and attitude is your choice. Don't let yourself be drawn into the negativity and hopelessness that seem to be all around us. Surround yourself with positive people, places and ideas and then go build your dreams. Life, after all, is simply a brief vacation from death. Make the most of it.

"Everything that is done in the world is done by hope." - Martin Luther

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