As Long As There’s Hope, The Dream is Still Alive

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is off to a great start.

It’s hard to believe the weekend is here again. Or, depending on your perspective, it could seem like it took forever getting here. For myself, that feeling changes through the week, and sometimes even throughout the day. It just depends what kind of day I’m having. Can I get an amen?

We all have good days and we all have some pretty lousy days. Between the stress of work, bills to pay, errands to run, and chores stacking up, some days can try our very soul. Throw in kids testing our patience and the occasional (I hope) disagreement with our significant other, and sometimes it feels like we’ll never get back on top. Then along comes a good day to bring it all back into balance.

It would be nice if life worked that way but, for most of us, a good day here and there doesn’t really bring everything back into balance – it just makes it easier for us to endure those other days as we wait for another good one to come along. Or maybe even a few in a row. Wouldn’t that be something?

Hope is what gives us the strength to carry on through those tough days. Hope that we’ll get this project finished on time. Hope that we’ll mend our relationships. Hope that we’ll lose that extra weight or get through this current illness. If it weren’t for hope, there’d be no sense trying.

If you took a jar, filled it with fleas, and then put a glass cover on top, the fleas would try to escape. They’d jump up, bump into the glass, and fall back down. In time, they’d realize the cover was there and jump just short of it. At that point, you could remove the cover and the fleas would stay in the jar. They’d never jump out, because they’d never know they could. They’d just stay in that jar and die.

It’s the same with hope. If you thought you could never accomplish a goal, you wouldn’t even try. If you tried and failed enough times in a row, it would be easy to quit. And if you didn’t think all your effort would someday lead to a more enjoyable existence, you’d probably stop trying. Meanwhile, that glass cover may have been removed, allowing you to jump as high as you want. If only you knew.

Every night, my dog wants to get in bed with me. He doesn’t really want to sleep there – he just wants to snuggle for a few minutes. And before any of you “no dogs in the bed!” types get your feathers ruffled, it’s my dog and my bed. He gets a bath, and he’s never had a single flea. Besides, he’s not a pet – he’s a member of the family.

Anyway, every night he stands at the end of the bed and whines as he makes anywhere from three to ten false starts at the single jump that’ll put him where he wants to be. It’s like he’s looking up at that mattress, wondering how we keep raising it higher every night, and his little brain is saying, “I think I can, I think I can!” Finally, he works up the nerve and makes the jump. He does this every single night.

It’s cute, but it illustrates an important point. The goal is right where it was from the beginning. It hasn’t moved and it’s not like we’ve surrounded it with a moat and stone towers. It’s just as accessible every night as it was the night before. All that’s changed is an eight-year-old dog’s confidence in his ability to reach the top.

We’re not so different. We see a goal and decide it’s something we want. We reach out and it’s not quite close enough. So, we take a step or two and we’re still not there. Then something gets in our way and we have to deal with that. Then something else comes along, and something else after that. After a while, we don’t reach out quite as far, because we’re not quite sure we’ll ever get there.

But here’s the thing – the goal hasn’t moved. It’s still right there where it was. And, unless we’ve taken a step backward, we’re no further away than we were before. What stops us from reaching that goal isn’t the obstacles that pop up along the way – it’s simply our perception of those obstacles and the power we think they wield. It’s a lack of hope.

No matter what kind of day you’re having, your goals are still out there waiting to be achieved. They say it’s always darkest before the dawn. And when the sun finally comes up, you often find yourself even closer to your goal than you’d imagined. As long as you stay focused and never lose hope, you’ll get there. And just think how much better it’ll feel when you do!

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

What Will You Do After the Storm?

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

This was an incredibly productive and relaxing weekend, highlighted by my youngest granddaughter’s fifth birthday. It’s amazing how quickly they grow up. For a little girl who doesn’t like being the center of attention, she had an awesome day. Watching the kids run and play outside, none of us could have imagined how the day would end.

I went to sleep knowing there were thunderstorms looming from the northwest, but most of our weather comes in from the southwest, so I went to sleep thinking about the people north of us who would bear the brunt of it. Well, as it turned out, “north” was a lot closer than it seemed. By 11:00, I was awakened out of a sound sleep to spend the next hour hunkered down in the basement.

We were spared the worst of it, but early indications are that several tornadoes tore a path across several counties after most people had gone to sleep for the night. For many of those people, as the rest of us settled back into our beds once the storms had passed, they were left to wonder where their bed had gone, because it wasn’t where they last saw it.

We live in an area of the state that’s known for tornadoes. My own neighborhood, the very spot on which my house sits, was ground zero for one of the most destructive F5 tornadoes in history. That one leveled a large part of our town and took 33 lives in the process. There were injuries last night, and a lot of destruction. But thankfully, it appears everyone at least survived the storms.

But last night, we were among the lucky ones who were able to return to our own bed and call it a night. The closest confirmed tornado passed less than three miles to the north. As we counted our blessings and tried to unwind, images of unbelievable destruction were broadcast on the TV. And even as I went to bed, the storms were still wreaking havoc in counties to the east.

I can imagine a lot of those people enjoyed the day yesterday much as we did. Cookouts, family gatherings, kids playing in the sunshine, everybody just making the most of a beautiful day. I doubt anybody put their kids to bed after a long day spent even an instant thinking about having to wake them up and run for shelter in the middle of the night and whether they’d have a house by morning.

Life happens, whether we’re ready or not. Things can change in an instant, and none of us can ever be completely prepared for the reality we’ll face when the current storm is over. We’re not just talking about meteorological storms, but any of the things life can hurl our way to completely change what we thought the day may bring, and the pieces we’ll be left to pick up in its wake.

Storms come in the form of serious accidents. Sometimes they manifest themselves as health issues, a family crisis, or financial loss. This year has seen an unprecedented amount of flooding and storm damage across the U.S. that nobody could have imagined. And every day, families around the world deal with the loss of a loved one. You wonder sometimes how they can muster the strength to go on.

Some storms never fully pass. But even a hurricane has a spot of calm sunshine in the middle, a chance to survey the damage and get ready for what’s to come. And it’s in those brief moments that the human spirit begins to shine through. Disbelief turns to acceptance, and acceptance turns to determination. And in that moment, we begin to move away from the storm instead of waiting for the storm to move away from us.

I can look around my neighborhood today and it bears no resemblance to that awful day in 1974. Homes are standing, trees have grown to maturity, kids are playing, and birds are singing. That’s the cycle of life. Bad things will happen. We’ll face adversity, and some of the challenges will seem insurmountable. But it’s what we do to move forward after the storm that defines us.

Hopefully your day started off like any other, and hopefully that’s how it will end. We can never predict the challenges we’ll face, and most of them will be completely undeserved. But somewhere among those challenges we find blessings – a friendly smile, a warm meal, the laughter of a child, the love of a pet. And in focusing on those blessings, the challenges become more manageable.

You can never anticipate all the storms life will throw your way, and you can never be fully prepared for any of them. But in the way we handle life’s most insignificant challenges, we prepare ourselves to move forward from whatever life throws our way. Put a little positivity in the bank each day. You never know when you’ll need some.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved