Hope: Virtue of Verb?

hopeMy dad always told us young kids that there should always be something waiting for you.  His words were more like, “If you have it now, then what?”  So each of the five of us needed to wait for “my” bike or an extended curfew.  If you have everything you’ve always waited then perhaps you have a lot of stuff to dust each week.

An aphorism says that if your dreams are more than your achievements then being young will always be yours.  I wouldn’t want to be young again but I get the point.  Picture this: five 90 year old women are having a two hour breakfast and talk the whole time.  If I ease drop, which I do from time to time, the topics change quicker than the time it took me to write this sentence.  It begins with the Packers fatal defeat to the evening’s dinner offerings to what happened to the waiter they all liked to “are you going to share that leftover or not?”, to a grandchild’s recent success followed by a sad story of a floundering grandchild and then admiring a necklace that she always wanted to buy but couldn’t find and is now worn by one of the five.

I truly dislike exaggerated phrases that abuse this already abused language.  “Totally unique” is utterly impossible and expecting “110% involvement” from my boss is mathematically  just weird and “awesome” used at any time as an adjective is just dumb and even dumber as a stand-alone noun.  The one I love the most is, “we’re a team” as the director directs us toward the direction she had before she entered the meeting.  “Yeah, right.”

The reason for your reading this far is about hope.  It’s one of my favorite words next to grace.  Both words need to be used cautiously because they are powerful words.  Misusing them only confuses people and diminishes the word’s power.  And, we all know that words have power.  “I love (or hate) you” travels miles in a relationship.  The hope for a Packer victory next season cheapens as does a hope for a mild Wisconsin winter.

“I hope she calls me.”  (That’s called horny.)
“I hope my stock goes up.”  (That’s poor investing, try an Indian casino instead.)
“I hope my lottery number wins.” (That’s called, well you fill in the blank.)

“I hope my son does well in college or that my chemo treatments work.”  That’s hope.  My dad was right.  We all need something to look forward to, anticipate.  That’s the hope that anyone can hope for.

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on Amazon.com.
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