Friday, 18 December 2015

How vain hope screwed me up.

Hope and I have been inseparable. We are the best of friends. He has been there for me every time I need him. 

But recently, hope has gone a little edgy for my liking. He has taken me to strange lands, making me run in circles, and even getting me lost as a result. 

But I was too dependent on hope to say no to him. I could not resist his charm. He was in fact very persuasive, almost religiously so. He once told me that a few pricks into my skin would heal me of my backache. He was sure that that was the key to perpetual relief. 

Sure enough, I was let on by him. I followed his every word and went to get pricked. I submitted to hope’s soft whisperings and expended resources in the direction of his leading. Alas, nothing happened. I was neither better nor relieved. In fact, the backache came back with a vengeance. It became worse. I had to live with that backache. 

Then, I realized that I had been walking crooked all my life. My body drooped from my 5th cervical bone downward at an obtuse angle. So, I did the sensible thing to straighten up. It was not easy trying to correct a lifetime of habitual hunching. I had to be conscious of how I walk, sit, stand and jog. I had to turn second nature inside out. I have to undo years of my unconscious doing. But I tried nevertheless and managed to secure some relief from it. It was hard work no doubt. I am still trying to straighten up. The effort is ongoing.

Then, hope had other ideas. He was not done with me yet. He next suggested that I take another dive into the rabbit hole of easy answers. He took me by the hand and introduced me to some herb for my eyes. He knew I can’t see well because I was constantly reading everywhere I went. I would read in the train, read while waiting for my turn in Court, read in the shopping centers, and read as long I am left alone. 

The reading over the years have affected my eyesight. My glasses are fast becoming redundant. I needed to change them and without them, I am as blind as a bat but without the ready help of echolocation. 

So, hope whispered into my heart and told me about the secret of effortless discipline. “Just take the eye herb regularly and I will see better again,” hope crooned in my ears. He was needless to say a snake charmer and I was the helpless snake. I was hissing under his spell. I submitted to hope’s piper-tune and took the herb. 

Again I expended resources and threw them into the rabbit hole of easy and quick gain. But the results never came. It never came because I refused to take care of my eyes while I imbibed those herbs. I thought I could carry on with my life as before with hope’s highly recommended herbs. As such, I neglected to read under brighter lights, rest my eyes once in a while, apply eye-drop to prevent dryness, and exercise my eyes intermittently. 

I didn’t do all that because I thought hope had the answer. To be honest, I really wanted him to have the answers. It was so comforting – and lazily so - to rest completely on his leading. It all just seems too good to be true and too true not to be good. For I just needed to eat the herb and all will be swell and well. 

I trusted hope and was misled by him again. Good intention aside, hope was just not shooting straight sometimes. He often missed the target by a long shot. Alas, I had no breakthrough with the herb. My eyes are still struggling with precision vision. I am sadly back to square one after all that time-consuming romp in the wilderness of gullibility. 

But that's not all. Hope is at his best when it comes to religion. His collaboration with faith is almost impeccable. They are the greatest of partners; most time, amazingly smooth. And I am again helpless like putty in their masterly hands. I can’t say that I am innocent here. At times, I want to believe and wanted to believe badly, even sorely. I mean, who doesn’t want to believe that all things are unquestionably possible with the purest of heart and the sincerest of utterances to the Creator of all things seen and unseen? Imagine the boundless power locked within that divine injunction. Just repeat the mantra: “Nothing is impossible! Nothing!” 

Needless to say, hope is my instigator, agitator and initiator here. He is my spirit whisperer. He and faith work hand in hand. They are a peerless match and I am often their one and only plaything. To me, it is basically a game of hide and seek and as I seek, the hiding never stops. Same goes with the answers to my earnest seeking. It remains oftentimes in hiding, beyond reach, so near yet so far, and suspended in lifeless animation – frozen in the reality of time. 

And hope is my persistent tormenter. He dangles himself before me like a donkey being led by a carrot hanging at the end of a stick projecting above his head. I therefore follow hope and faith as they lead me in a journey that often from my perspective has no definite destination. While I can’t say that I am not uplifted by hope and faith as I embark upon their recommended route, I am at times more lost than found under their tugging, prompting and prodding. 

Yet, despite the apparent conflicts, I can’t live without hope. He is still the refuge my heart seeks after when I am struggling at one end of the tunnel. He is still the veritable and proverbial light at the other end. That’s what he does best. I can’t imagine giving up hope. He has led me well before. He has hit the bull’s eye of reality more often than not. At most times, he delivers. His record may not be perfect but what raises him above the rest is his persistent streak. He just doesn’t give up. For that, I must give credit where credit is due. 

However, I must also be discerning at times when hope tends to overreach beyond himself and stretch a reality that is just too good to be true. Our relationship must not be a one-way street. It must not be a master-and-servant type. I must be pro-active myself. I must at times be self-assertive. I must say no to hope when I discern that he is going on his usual wild goose chase. I must rein him in, sit him down, and slap him back to reality. At times, I must take the lead. For to be mature, there’s just no other way. 

Here I recall Proverbs 23:23, “Buy the truth and sell it not.” I am thus beholden to the truth and under its leadership, I shall follow. For to do otherwise, to allow vain and immature hope to lead me eventually to dead-ends, cliffhangers, impasses, roundabouts and blind alleys, is to sell truth away to the lowest bidder. Cheerz.

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