In “The Book of Hope” by Douglas Abrahams, Jane Goodall contrasts hope and faith. “Hope” she says ” Is what enables us to keep going in the face of adversity. It is what we desire to happen, but we must be prepared to work hard to make it so.”. She continues on to say “Hope and faith are very different, faith is when you actually believe there is an intellectual power behind the universe, which can be translated into God or Allah or something like that.” She finishes with “Hope is more humble than faith, since no one can know the future.”
I have very little faith right now, but I have a whole lot of hope. This is unnerving to some who feel it’s their duty to teach and preach to me about faith. It makes me smile. It means they care. Just remember to care enough to allow people to walk their own path.
A few months ago I sat in a diner with a friend, sharing breakfast and waiting for visiting hours at Buffalo General to begin.
“I think you have to give yourself a discount.” He said, “You never even began to cope with Erika’s death, then the pandemic began, and now all of this.” I appreciated that someone had put this into perspective for me.
My lifelong friend had died suddenly on February 13, 2020. One month later the pandemic began. I jumped from academia back into the clinical world and if you know what nurses have endured through this pandemic, then you know.
2021 was not much better. Our son had surgery (he’s doing great), my husband was diagnosed with cancer (and we got a miracle) and then my Dad. He was diagnosed with multiple myeloma during a sudden hospitalization in August and we all endured complete hell until the end of November when he came home again. Strong. Full of hope.
My Dad did not die of cancer. My Dad died from negligence. One person made a fatal mistake. It was the result of a larger institution that put this nurse in the situation she was in. Trust me I am on this, I am taking on an entire institution because in my heart and soul I believe that all of our patients deserve excellent care. Excellent care can be given if our nurses are properly supported. Have a seat and grab a good cup of coffee, because this will take about 6 years to complete but hear me now…. I will complete it. We will talk carefully about that later.
For the better part of two years I have felt like Indiana Jones as he runs from the boulder.
One December 9th it rolled right over me.
If I needed to give myself a discount before, I needed a whole BOGO right now.
As we have been picking up the pieces we have been doing so with grace and humor and a whole lot of love. For the first time in my life I just opened my arms and accepted all and any help. So much has come. I feel like I did the most enormous trust fall and by God I was caught.
I also put myself straight into grief therapy. Game changer.
I was asked last week what gets me out of bed these days.
Hope. I said.
The possibility keeps me going. Not the guarantee.
The possibility of what?
Everything, I said. Everything.
I learned to be hopeful from my Dad. No matter what, tomorrow will come. And if it doesn’t, I don’t have control over that anyway.
Until tomorrow doesn’t come, we have a lot of work to do. I promised my Dad I would write a book. I started. He and I had all of the conversations you hope to have before someone is ripped out of your life (remember, he didn’t die from cancer). I made him several promises, we will talk about that soon.
I have been writing for the past 2 years, just not publishing. I have been training and racing, but that doesn’t feel as important to write about like I used to in this space. It’s still a beautiful part of my life but we have more important things to talk about rather than FTPs.
I have given myself that discount, and I am doing the work to process all that’s happened since almost two years ago. That’s part of life though. Dad always used to say “For every up, there is a down. Try not to get too high or too low. Try to stay in the middle.”
So here is to the middle. Here’s to my blue sparkly surfboard that I have expertly learned to surf these waves with. Here is to navigating whatever comes up during this process and learning to just move with it as it comes.
Hope and faith are not the same.
“Hope is more humble than faith, since no one can know the future.”
Thanks so much for stopping by. Thanks so much for reading. Thanks for not lecturing me on faith, and allowing me to work my way through it, with hope.
You are an amazing writer Mary! I enjoy what you have written so far and can’t wait to read your book some day. You are an inspiration to so many people. I’m sure your dad is looking down, beaming with pride with who you are as a mom, a wife, an athlete, a human being. Keep running. Keep swimming. Keep biking. Keep writing. Keep being you. Keep the hope!