Sunday, December 21, 2008
Solstice and Hope
I’m watching the snow outside through the window from inside on the couch. I’m spending the day in my bathrobe as I recover from a virus. It happens to be Friday, my day off, and it’s snowing like crazy here. If I felt better I might bundle up and go outside to enjoy the experience. “Enjoy” is the wrong word. I don’t like being cold. It brings up a lot of sad feelings from the past. Winter in general is a hard time for me with its darkness.
2 Days Later… I’m starting to think about hope. My health has returned and some energy came with it. The sun is peeking through the clouds and reflecting brightly off the snow left behind by the past week’s weather. Still friggin cold out there, but there are moments of beauty – especially if you are out of the wind.
It gives me hope. I recently had the pleasure of attending a speaking engagement by Evan Handler. You may remember him as the bald, Jewish love interest of Miranda in the series, “Sex in the City.” Turns out he is a cancer survivor and also a fine author as well. (See: “Time on Fire" and “It’s Only Temporary”). He was on a book tour and came to Ann Arbor as part of it. I have read his first book and I’m on the waiting list for the second one from the library.
One of the notions I came away with from his talk was this: There is no such thing as false hope. Mr. Handler claims that false hope is an oxymoron. Handler was frequently being admonished by his doctors against false hope. He had a type of leukemia that at the time had a 90% fatality rate. Mr. Handler understood this to mean that a full 10% of people with his disease would be cured! In his description of the experience it seemed as if the doctors were trying to protect their own feelings, rather than those of their patients. The doctors had lost many patients. Evan Handler’s doctors expected their patients to die. It was hard for them to retain hope for individual patients in their care.
I can’t solve the mortgage crisis alone or rescue the auto companies in Detroit – though my tax dollars will be earmarked to this end for the foreseeable future. But I hope all will be well in the financial world. I hope the stock market stabilizes and grows again. I hope our work continues to joyfully sustain us. I hope our health stays solid.
Hope is defined by Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary (mine from high school) as “desire with the expectation of fulfillment.”
My hope looks like this: We will have sunny days again. The days will get longer from now till late June. At the solstice I am reminded that natural light really does affect my mood. I need and want more of it. Hope is back with tilted axis of the earth in its orbit.