I recently met a man whom I will call Sam. Sam, in his younger years, was a semi-pro baseball player. He was offered a contract in the late 1950’s by the Detroit Tigers. He traveled to Lakeland, Florida for spring training. Sam was a golden glove second baseman. He was not as talented at the plate, swinging at virtually every pitch. He was cut before the season began.
Ordinary athletes do not make it anywhere close to the professional level. Extraordinary people do. Sam is extraordinary.
About 10 years ago, Sam began experiencing weakness in his muscles, particularly noticable in his limbs. His endurance waned. He eventually developed uncontrollable tremors in his right hand. Parkinson’s disease.
In a candid conversation recently, I asked Sam what he wanted more than anything in life. “Hope. I want to have hope that I can overcome Parkinson’s. I want a light at the end of this tunnel.”
Hope. An expectation that everything is going to be ok. Confidence that someone or something is in control when we clearly are not.
Is it reasonable to think that everything is going to be ok when you have an incurable disease? Is it silly to trust in a power beyond your own understanding? Maybe I am just an eternal optimist…but I believe that a positive attitude such as this is essential to rising above the despair.
What if there is no power beyond? What if this is all by chance? We don’t really know, now do we? Hope is the result of faith. And faith is not sight. I believe even though I don’t know. What I do know is that hope is better than despair.
In the movie Shawshank Redemption, Andy (a wrongly convicted banker) says “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
Sam will die one day. We all will. Hope is eternal so it will survive us. Will we embrace it while we live?