October 24, 2011

the problem with hope

     I hate the word 'hope'.  It's a cruel and bitter emotion that won't leave you alone.  In meditation, one is taught to 'let go' of attachments to emotions.  I can often do that with anger and grief and anxiety.  In fact, I've gotten pretty adept at it.  But not hope.  I despise it because even if I let it go, it never lets go of me, along with its cousin of disappointment.  'Hope springs eternal in the human breast' and all that jazz.  A three hundred year poet wrestled with it then as I wrestle with it now.  Some things never change.
     This morning right before class, I get a phone call from my dad.  MDACC has already initiated the search for an unrelated donor.  "They got over 900 potential hits initially.  They want to narrow it down to 3 people and that should take about 2 weeks," my dad tells me.  His voice is filled with hope.  As a consequence, my ears are also filled with hope.  But does it penetrate down and do I allow my heart to dare hope?  Can we find a 10 out of 10 match in just a few short weeks?  Is that possible?  More importantly, is it probable and likely?  Do I dare get my hopes up????

Know then thyself, presume not God to scan
The proper study of Mankind is Man.
Placed on this isthmus of a middle state,
A Being darkly wise, and rudely great:
With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride,
He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest;
In doubt to deem himself a God, or Beast;
In doubt his mind or body to prefer;
Born but to die, and reas'ning but to err;
Alike in ignorance, his reason such,
Whether he thinks too little, or too much;
Chaos of Thought and Passion, all confus'd;
Still by himself, abus'd or disabus'd;
Created half to rise and half to fall;
Great Lord of all things, yet a prey to all,
Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurl'd;
The glory, jest and riddle of the world.
Go, wondrous creature! mount where science guides,
Go, measure earth, weigh air, and state the tides;
Instruct the planets in what orbs to run,
Correct old time, and regulate the sun;
Go, soar with Plato to th’ empyreal sphere,
To the first good, first perfect, and first fair;
Or tread the mazy round his followers trod,
And quitting sense call imitating God;
As Eastern priests in giddy circles run,
And turn their heads to imitate the sun.
Go, teach Eternal Wisdom how to rule—
Then drop into thyself, and be a fool!
 - alexander pope from an essay on man

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