The Future Is Not A Promise

A few years back the Chief commanded me to harbor Hope in my heart. I’m not sure I’ve been able to comply, even if it might remain a matter of semantics.

What I harbor is a sense of Trust that things can only improve. I have, admittedly, been skunked in this regard going on five years now, but even so I trust that 2018 will be an improvement on last year’s model.

I trust, for instance, that friends and loved ones will remain hale and hearty and (Dare I utter it?) prosperous.

I trust that as a world we’ll make adjustments to address climate change.

But I hope that Donald Trump got a lump of coal in his Christmas stocking–although he does not deserve even that for having paid lip service to the idea of reviving such a dinosaur of a mining industry.

I trust that our political system will, like some self-regulating organ, repair itself. With our help, of course. Because, quixotically, I also trust that people will do the right thing.

I hope, therefore, that justice will take its course.

I trust in many things, most of them too mundane to mention.

Take science; I have trust in, not hope for it.

Take our currency. Is “In God We Hope” printed upon it?

Trust is more important than hope. At least, I trust that it is.

Trust is muscular, somehow, while Hope is an apparition. Trust is a faith, a goal, an aspiration; Hope, springing however eternally in the human breast, is a desire best kindled by conditions most likely to be detached from one’s control.

Hope is wishful thinking. Hope is nothing if not optimistic.

I can’t definitively identify an iota of Hope within this breast. It’s too much. The future, after all, is not a promise.

The future, I think, is something we owe each other in that we’re all mutually dependent. Which means it’s incumbent upon everyone not only to do whatever their calling is well–but to also do the right thing, no matter how small.

I do not wish a “Happy New Year!” to everyone. There are those who do not recognize our mutual dependence–our humanity–and who instead seek to lever an advantage over others, or harm, kill, terrorize or abuse them sexually, financially or verbally. These types don’t need a “Happy New Year!” but they do deserve a reckoning.

I hope they’ll get it.

This year.

That’s wishful thinking, I know. I certainly don’t trust that evildoers will ever get their comeuppance. Especially if they’re wealthy. But, as Hemingway’s Jake Barnes said in The Sun Also Rises, “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”

Here’s another pretty thing to think of: Gratitude.

We endure many odd, even ridiculous things in life. The dryer, when it’s done, announces it to us in staccato tones that for all I know emulate the national anthem of Estonia. Even though it was made right here in the good ol’ U. S. of A.

It’s ridiculous.

But I’m grateful that the clothes are dry.

And Gratitude–Appreciation, the very sheath of Trust–is never ridiculous.

But Hope can be.

The future is not a promise.

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