Monday, October 19, 2009

Four-Letter Words

Hope is a four-letter word. To those of you who reply, “duh,” let me clarify by stating that the word “hope” is one of my least favorites in the English language. I know, most people think hope is such a good thing to have. It helps us through trying times; it gives us strength to overcome obstacles; it reassures and comforts us; yadda yadda.

But I believe that hope can be blinding and can keep us from facing reality. We can hope for miracles. We can hope for success. But hope seems to imply complacency – we sit and hope for a good outcome, instead of grabbing life by the horns and doing something about the situation. A gambler hopes his next hand will win, and he loses thousands in the process. A businessman risks an investment, and he loses everything instead. A couple sinks thousands of dollars into fertility treatments, hoping the next time it will work. At the end, they’re all left worse off than they started, because of hope.

Maybe it’s better to have faith than hope, whether it’s religious faith or just plain optimism. To me, these words imply a general outlook about life, instead of giving an image of a weak person sitting at home, hoping that things will turn out well. Having faith implies certainty. People can have faith that things will work out, instead of just hoping that they will.

My other least favorite word is “should.” Can you think of any use of this word that is good? I should clean the bathroom. I should work out more. You should call your mother. This word is only used to instill guilt! You should have been nicer, better, more confident. Even in “It should be a nice day today,” we leave room for a negative outcome and disappointment. Yuck.

Well, I’m off now. I should get off the computer and be more productive. I hope you all have a nice day.

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