The day my mother died, I was hoping for something, anything, to help alleviate my incredible pain and overwhelming sense of loss. I was also hoping that Mom was finally at peace. A Facebook post around the same time revealed that a friend of mine was hoping fervently for something as well: that she would find just the right shoes to match her new dress.
At first, it seemed so cruel and unfair to me that I was hoping for something so crucial while she was free to hope for something that seemed so insignificant to me.
But then I recalled a day a few months earlier when I was more like the shoe-buyer than the mourner. I had posted a Facebook status about hoping my daughter’s team would win their soccer game against a cross-town rival. An acquaintance commented on my post, chiding me for hoping for such a trivial thing when a family member of hers was spending his days hoping for something much more important: that his latest chemo treatment would destroy the tumors that were threatening to end his life way too early.
We all have times in our lives when our hopes seem to be but a tiny speck in the universe, important to no one but ourselves. Such small hopes might serve to alter our mood or our day, but not our lives — like hoping there’s no line at the coffee shop, or hoping your favorite TV show is on, or hoping your husband has time to get the car washed.
And we all have to face situations when our hopes must be so much larger than that — like hoping for a new job that will pay the mounting bills, or hoping for recovery from a serious illness, or hoping your daughter gets into the college of her dreams.
Sometimes, we even find that our hopes are as far-reaching as the universe itself — like hoping for world peace, or a solution to global warming.
Hopes come in all sizes. So if I want to hope for something tiny, like fitting into my skinny jeans, I can. And if I want to hope for the miraculous, or the impossible, or the grandiose — like touching a rainbow, or time-traveling, or being the queen of England — that’s up to me.
Because I believe that all hopes — small or large, practical or frivolous, silly or serious — can co-exist peacefully. I can hope for an end to world hunger at the exact same time I’m hoping that my family likes the new recipe I made for dinner. I can hope to win the lottery in the same moment that I’m hoping there’s a sale on the new tires I need for my car. And it’s perfectly acceptable for me to be hoping for something small while someone else must be hoping really big — and vice versa.
My hopes can comfort me, lift my spirits, make me laugh or bring a smile to my face. It doesn’t matter how important they are to anyone else, because they’re essential to my happiness, whether they lead to what I’m hoping for or not.
Oh, and if you have any questions, you can reach me at Buckingham Palace.
We asked experts, authors and readers like you to share their stories of Hope. Every day for the next month, you’ll find new tips for optimism on Gaiam Life, the Stream of Consciousness blog and our social media sites: Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. And don’t miss the GaiamTV.com Hope Film Festival, with FREE films all month long.