what everyone wants


I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately, what everyone wants.  It seems like everyone in America is on edge or talking about the rest who are.  I credit that to the election and the world events that are clogging the airways with frightening images.  But if you peel away the crisis and drama, we’re all still going about our lives with some purpose.  So what is that for most people?

What is it that keeps us going?  Nearly everyone has the simple desire to stay alive.  We’ve seen thousands of incredible examples of the will to live, from brute animal strength in the face of danger, to miraculous transformations.

But besides that, besides the raw will to stay alive, what keeps us from going bonkers with just the day to day stuff?

I used to think it was the search for happiness.  That, behind the drive to succeed, and the desire for material acquisition, and all the other passions which drive us, was the simple quest for happiness. Just a smile, a laugh, a lack of worry would do it for most people.  I still think that’s mostly true, but because the mere concept of happiness is so subjective, it becomes complicated again.  And there always seems to be another level of desire, even when people get everything they thought they wanted.

So there has to be a simpler answer.  And I think it is hope.

It isn’t the happiness, it’s the hope of happiness when you wonder if it even exists. It isn’t the health that will make you happy, or the job, or the children – it’s the hope for those things.  Just the hope itself.

My Life Application Study Bible says that hope is “to desire something with the confident expectation of its fulfillment.” That’s really all I need to get up in the morning.

I hope (and actually pray) that my family will all be safe and healthy and happy every day. I hope (and also pray) that the fruit of my efforts (in my case, painting) will bring joy to people I haven’t met yet.  And that they will also fill my accounts so that my family can be safe and happy.  I hope that what I see in my mind’s eye will be pleasing to your mind’s eye, so that I’m not just doing this for my health.

You hope for the things you hope for.  If we were in different circumstances, we would hope for different things.  Freedom if we weren’t free, say.  Rain, if we were drought-parched farmers.  And we all have many other layers of things attached to the simple hopes. Layers of hopes.  I picture the layers upon layers of prayers that God was hearing in that Jim Carrey movie where he and Morgan Freeman switched places.  When Jim Carrey was God he couldn’t get past the cacophony of prayers.  Our hopes are probably like that too.

But the initial thing is hope itself, plain and simple.  Because when we lose it, that’s when things really do go to hell in the proverbial “handbasket,” whatever that may be.    When all hope is gone is when we’re done.  People in dire straights find little threads of hope to stay afloat.

So love isn’t all we need.  Not really.  All we need is hope.  Hope of love.  Hope of happiness.  Hope of whatever it is we think we fill us with hope.  It’s a lovely mobias strip, if you like, a two edged strip which never ends, merely folding in on itself again and again.

Hope.  How do you find it? How do you restore it when it flags?

What do you hope for?

About Carol Joy Shannon

A former sailor of the seven seas, living in my beloved Lowcountry, between the blackwater swamps and the saltmarshes, surrounded by pre-revolutionary history.....thinking about current events....painting dinosaurs and other whimsical animals for children, with the occasional abstract or new cityscape for my delightful collectors. The best thing about being a seasoned old salt is sitting down not running around, so...
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