The view surrounding me was pristine. I could see for miles. Green everywhere, even right in front of my eyes.
A slight breeze blew my then white blonde hair as I wedged my bare toes between the strong branches of my favorite walnut tree. I breathed a sigh knowing I was invisible, hidden beneath the green mass of leaves surrounding me.
What I loved about being in a tree is I could see other people but they couldn’t see me. I would sit for hours and spy.
I grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. All my neighbors were Amish and I would watch with envy as they drove by in their buggies. I was not envious of the buggy mind you, I just wanted the horse.
For as long as I can remember, I dreamed about horses. I don’t know where the dream started, but I guess some dreams are just in you. They seem to well up out of the depths of your person.
As I sat in my tree on that particular summer day, I lazily watched as a buggy crept past our house. Suddenly I leaned forward and squinted my eyes trying to use my eyes as binoculars. I was gripped with excitement. The buggy looked empty. I did not see a driver and, for a beautiful instant, I hoped the horse pulling the buggy was a runaway. I would therefore be able to claim it for myself!
As I child I obviously hadn’t thought through the logistics of my hopes. I couldn’t very well just snag someone else’s horse, dispose of the buggy, and claim the horse as my own.
But, no matter. In my head, the horse was mine. I watched it longingly and lovingly envisioned us galloping through open fields with sunlight filtering through leaves and heavenly music playing. I would be laughing as the horse’s mane would tickle my chin. And the horse would whinny with glee because it would love me as I would love it back.
I was just devising a plan to capture the runaway when I spotted a dark form. It was the driver inside the no longer runaway buggy.
My hopes were dashed. The horse would not be mine after all.
I was a hopeless case of disappointment. I sulked in my tree angry at the driver for actually being in his buggy. “That horse,” I grumbled, “should be mine!”
From then on, I watched every buggy doggedly hoping it was a runaway to claim as my own. I never gave up hope, but oddly, it also never came to pass.
This story from my childhood displays something very clearly to me.
Hope was hindering me.
We talk about hope in a la-la good feelings way. Put your hope in the Lord, have hope for tomorrow, hope that one day things will be better… or easier… or we will actually like our life or our husband or get along with our children.
What has become clear is hope in and of itself doesn’t get us anywhere. I hoped all my childhood I would be able to find and keep someone else’s horse. A bad plan, yes, and rather selfish on my part. A better plan would have been to let hope propel me to take action.
Using my hope wisely would have looked more like working hard, saving money, and one day buying my own horse. My hope would have been fulfilled and I would have stopped looking for other people to give me handouts to make my life happier.
Waiting for life and other people to fulfill my hopes was a poor plan. It would be no different if I said I wanted to be like Taylor Swift but never picked up a guitar to practice or sought out local places to start playing my music.
Hope by itself is not enough.
This is therefore my question to you reader.
What do you hope for?
Do you hope for a better marriage, a more organized life, the ability to make a difference in the world? Do you hope to help orphans somewhere or live abroad? Do you hope to one day enjoy your work?
My next question is this. Is hope hindering you? Are you only hoping, but not acting? Are you taking the necessary action needed to see your hope fulfilled?
Why hope for $50,000 to be dropped in your lap when you could use your unique talents to make $50,000? Why hope a horse could be mine, when I could use my unique talents to make money and, in return, make a horse my own.
Unfulfilled hopes make us bitter at life. But, it doesn’t make sense to be angry when we failed to take action.
Therefore, from this day forward use your hopes as flares. Blazing signals to guide us in a direction!
Let your hope to be someone or do something great move you to actually be that someone who does something great!
Let your hope lead to action.
Don’t sit up in a tree waiting for your hopes to come to you. Go after them!
Question: What do you hope for and what are you doing to get there?