Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Today's fortune: July 19, 2011

Today's fortune: Hope is the most precious treasure to a person.

Whenever I hear the word "Hope," the thing that uncontrollably pops into my mind is this great final scene from a great movie, "Shawshank Redemption." In the scene, as Red (Morgan Freeman) travels across the US/Mexico border to meet up with his friend, prison escapee Andy (Tim Robbins), Red delivers this classic dialogue that will go down as one of the finest endings in modern movie history:

I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope...

Wipe your tears, fellas.

It's an emotional scene, and it's emotional because this fortune is absolutely, dead-on balls accurate. Our hope is a precious possession, and our hope is even more valuable than the thing we hope for.

Think about it: when you were a kid, December seemed like the longest month in existence. After the Thanksgiving leftovers were consumed, you couldn't wait for Christmas morning. And although the anticipation of Christmas made the month last forever, the hope of Christmas presents kept you going - and it kept you on your best behavior in case Santa was watching.

And then consider this: when Christmas morning actually rolled around, weren't you always a little disappointed when the wrapping was off the presents and your bounty cascaded before you? That's because hoping for a thing is better than the actual thing.

I'd like to give a much more serious example, too, but first let's take a look at the Dictionary.com definition of the word "Hope," because I think it's pitch-perfect - The feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.

Have you ever known a cancer patient? They're the most hopeful people you'll ever meet. They just know they're going to lick the disease, even when the odds are stacked against them. And I've seen studies where hope actually prolongs life: cancer sufferers who are hopeful live longer and combat the disease better than those without hope.

What do I hope for? Well, I'm hopeful Jamie and I will get out of the financial muck soon. I hope I can avoid getting fired from my job and, maybe one day, earn a promotion. I hope we can retire comfortably in a cabin nestled in the Smoky Mountains.

As I examine my own hopes, I realize something: hope can be dangerous, too. While I'm hoping for a better future, I forget that my life right now is pretty damn great, because I'm living it with the woman I love. You can have hope, but you can't let it shadow all the good things happening between now and then.

In other words: get busy livin' or get busy dyin'.

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