Two Roads – Hope and Despair

It has never been, and never will be, easy work!  But the road that is built in hope is more pleasant to the traveler than the road built in despair, even though they both lead to the same destination.                         (Marian Zimmer Bradley, 1930-1999)

My favorite poem is The Road Not Taken written by Robert Frost.  If you haven’t read this poem lately, why not take a look at it before finishing this post.

We do have choices to make and attitudes to wrestle with.  Each day we have multiple opportunities to make choices between being a victim or being a survivor.  Many of the choices we make, I have learned, depend on attitude, self-discipline, habit and character.

In Frost’s poem, once the traveler decides which path to choose, he/she must abandon the other path to another time.  So choosing the path of despair or hope locks in your journey until the next time new journeys appear .

The companion you choose on the journey through the woods or fields is resolute in its guidance.  It affects all that occurs while you walk down the path you’ve chosen.  It affects all the senses.

In the 1950’s Pete Seeger wrote a song, Turn, Turn, Turn the words of which come from Ecclesiastes 3 found in the Holy Bible.  In the 1960’s, the band The Byrds, re-recorded the song.  The message of that song is there is a time and place for everything.  There is a time for despair but a time to be filled with hope.  There is a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.

You and I freely choose the paths we will follow.  Whether we encounter despair or joy is of our own making.  Clearly the path of despair brings less joy than the path of hope.  Hang on to despair, grief, mourning for as long as you must, but always return to the path of hope.  It brings happiness now, and well into the future.

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Words Spoken In Hope

“I lack the moral fiber to make enemies.” – (Murray Kempton, 1917-1997)

When was the last time you had a truthful conversation with a friend or a family member?  When was the last time you felt as if you were free enough or safe enough to speak your mind?  When was the last time you had to set a context into which your conversation would fit before saying what was on your mind or in your heart?  When was the last time you felt as if someone was really listening to you, suspending judgment and being fully present for you?

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Being Shipwrecked

“Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” (Voltaire 1694-1778)

There is no guarantee that life will be smooth sailing.  In fact, it’s almost guaranteed that life will present us with numerous storms that leave us adrift in the waves and wind.  In the midst of the storm, there is hope, there is singing in the lifeboats.

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A Practical Example of Hope

This post is a bit different from my usual posts.  Yesterday I joined a group of folks who committed to a challenge from Jeff Goins ( to write a minimum of 500 words per day for the next 31 days.  At this moment, this feels like a significant challenge to my ability and perseverance.

Here’s where hope enters in.  I fervently desire to communicate with folks concerning the purpose and promise of hope.  To put it another way, I am eager to have conversations with folks using the following statement as the focal point of our dialogue – “every life should have a noble purpose”.

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