Sense Out of Sense

“Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism.  It’s not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.”
~Václav Havel


It seems as though this quotation didn’t fit with my mindset last year, and it certainly doesn’t fit with how I am feeling now, either.  Or maybe, if I look at it from a different angle, it does make sense.

A few days ago I wrote a post about hope being a song that we sing in the depth of our being – something that never stops no matter what.  Right now I am tired and overworked and I feel like hope is the only thing I have – I hope that I get through all of this and that it will be worth it in the end.

Does that make sense?  I don’t know.  Maybe according to this quotation, it is supposed to makes sense.  Whether or not all of this hard work pays of in the end… hmm… I’m not sure if it makes sense for it to not turn out.  That would be a whole lot of “nonsense.”

The other day I met with one of the staff to go over my evaluations from a few months ago: For July and August.  Apparently everyone only had good things to say about me: I am hard working, I have good surgical skills, I work well under pressure, I don’t get stressed out, I make good assessments and plans, I know my limits, I don’t get bogged down in the minute details… but there was one thing that seemed to concern people – they were worried that I seemed unhappy.  I didn’t know what to make of that comment, or what to do with it.

I’m happy, but I’m not happy.  It’s hard to always be smiling and cheerful when you are tired and wondering if you’ve made all the right decisions in life.  Or more vaguely stated, when you’re not sure if everything in your life makes sense.  So what do I take away from that feedback session?  I should be happier when I’m at work, maybe?  Obviously I know that these last few months haven’t been easy for me, and there is a reason I see a psychologist on a regular basis.  Overall, I didn’t know what to say.  I enlightened her on the whole “people at work found my blog and I was criticized and harassed online because of it and everyone at work was talking about it behind my back” situation that happened in the middle of July.  I told her how I completely shut down at that point because I didn’t know who I could trust to talk to about anything, even something as simple as a night with my kids.  Maybe that contributed to it… I don’t know.  Or maybe it’s just my personality… maybe that’s it!

Regardless, nothing ever makes sense.  I feel like I am blindly floating around with the hope that in the end everything will fall into place… some kind of place.


Hope is Unchanged

“Hope is the thing with feathers –
that perches in the soul-
and sings the tune without the words-
and never stops – at all”

~Emily Dickinson

From The Old Blog, November 6, 2014:

I initially picked this quotation because I like Emily Dickinson: She was such an interesting person!  While she was alive, and even afterwards, people thought she was just some crazy house-bound lady with irrational fears about leaving her house.  But then after she died, they found all her writing.  She was known for a few pieces of writing before she died, but it is her posthumous publications that have made her the literary classic that she is today.

Isn’t it interesting how much beauty and emotion she had in her writing – that she kept to herself for so many years?  I mean, she even asked her sister to burn all of her writing after her death (and thank goodness she didn’t!).  I think it relates somewhat to the idea of “isolation” that I mentioned on Nov 3.  How would Ms. Dickinson have been viewed by her peers if they read her writing while she was still alive?  Would it have made a difference in her life?

Anyhow, back to the quotation.  I like Emily Dickinson because her writing has so much insight.  I’ve never really taken the time to think about what “Hope” is.  Here, Dickinson characterizes it a bird in the soul that sings a song and never stops.  I’ve often wondered what it is that makes me get out of bed in the morning, even when I feel like there is no point.  What makes me wipe the tears off my face and move on to the next task at hand?  Surely it can’t be my own consciousness and willpower; Most of the time I lament the circumstances in life and wonder why there is any point to doing anything.  Regardless, there is something – some reason – I am able to rise up from the floor, steady my shaking knees and put one foot slowly in front of the other.
Maybe it is a song that plays deep down in my soul. 
Maybe it is the one thing that is always present and always constant.
Maybe this is Hope.

Hope is a feeling that what we want is attainable or that whatever is happening will turn out “for the best.”  At the worst possible moments we say that we’ve lost all hope – But somehow we still go on.  As long as we’re alive, we have hope.  Even if we don’t feel it, it’s there.  And as Ms. Dickinson says: “it never stops – at all”

I decided to present this post unchanged from its original state because I feel that it stands true.  Hope, as I described above, is a unique entity that will always stand the test of time.  Not much of what I wrote about in this post last year has changed, except maybe for the part where I talk about “lamenting the circumstances” in which I find myself.  I certainly do not feel that I lament my current life situation, even though I do sometimes questions my choices and my sanity.  Regardless, it is interesting to notice that hope, regardless of where we find ourselves in life, is unrelenting and unchanged.