I’ve had up-close experience with a few intense situations in the last many weeks.
Critical illness, death and dying, life-changing decisions, rites of passage. Life, unfolding.
While these circumstances weren’t mine, I was involved by my proximity, my relationships, my presence. Heart, fully engaged.
Sometimes a witness, a watcher, or someone’s “person.” (I accept this as one of the great honors of my life, always completely draining me and completely filling me up with love at the same time.)
The nature of each different situation contained within it a delicate filament, a common thread, of Hope.
Hope that things would get better, that they’d turn out differently, that there would be a miracle that changed everything.
Remember, though – I said “dire”.
In the face of dire, “hope” can look more than a little like “denial.” And so hope is pushed against, shelved, found potentially harmful (maybe even dangerous.) Labeled “false” to make it undesirable and unsought-after.
I agreed with all that. It felt like the smart thing to do. I could see from a broader vantage point where things were really headed, so I nodded and comforted but quietly Knew Better. (Quietly, because I feel true-ness in the adage “Do not take someone’s hope away from them, for it may be all they have.”)
When the heart is allowed to take back over from the head, though, wisdom just might return. (Thank goodness!) I’ve had a lot of that these past many days.
So, today, I no longer agree. I don’t Know Better than to kindle “false hope.” Because I saw something happen when hope arrived, false or otherwise:
A deep breath, taken.
Or a breath held, exhaled.
A tailspin into fear, leveled off.
A step back just far enough to find footing and a moment of calm.
It only takes an instant, and the trajectory changes. Love can get in, choices can be made, presence can return.
Then we can be there for whatever happens next, with our honest pain and humanity, with the people we love.
Now, I get it.
THAT is the actual beauty of “false” hope.