I equate hope with prayer. The two are linked by a strong bond. Of course, prayer is tied to religious belief. Hope is not. I stopped praying when I was a teen and I gave up on hope soon after. The phrase “dashed hope” took on painful meaning after college when my visions of a confident, happy adulthood crashed with reality. I pushed hope into the wishful thinking category. If I wanted something, I had to work to get it. There was no time to waste on hope.
I thought of myself as optimistically realistic. I took every step I could to create the life I wanted. Sure, there were missteps and sometimes I took a circuitous route when a straight line would have sufficed but, for the most part, I made progress.
Then, out of nowhere, my sister was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. When asked about the prognosis, the doctor said–get your affairs in order.
My younger sister. My best friend.
I read everything I could find on lung cancer and I found myself hoping that she would be one of the very few who would beat the disease. The odds were totally against this but she was young. She was strong. She was determined. Triumphs and setbacks ensued. I began to pray–Dear God, please help my sister. She was valiant. She fought hard. But, in the end, she became too weak to continue the fight. Then I hoped and prayed that she would not suffer any longer.