By Henrylito D. Tacio
The river was flooding its banks and the waters were rising around Jonathan’s house. The waters had gotten to the level of the front porch where Jonathan was standing. A man in an outrigger came by and called to Jonathan, “Hop in and I'll take you to high ground.”
Jonathan replied, “No, my God will save me!”
The river continued to rise to the second story windows and Jonathan, looking out, saw a speedboat come up. The man in the speedboat called to Jonathan, “Hop in and I'll take you to high ground.” Again, Jonathan’s reply was: “No, my God will save me!”
The river had now risen to the roof of the house.
Jonathan was sitting on the ridge at the top of the house, with the waters swirling around his feet. He saw a helicopter fly over and the people inside yelled over a loudspeaker, “Grab the rope and climb in and we'll take you to high ground.” Jonathan’s usual
reply: “No, my God will save me!”
The river continued to rise and finally it engulfed the house and Jonathan was drowned. The next thing he knew, Jonathan was standing before his God. In anger, he asked God, “I put my trust in you. Why have you forsaken me?”
God calmly replied, “What do you want from me? I sent you an outrigger, a speedboat, and a helicopter!”
This story came to my mind after reading the result of a survey conducted by Asia Pulse Incorporated recently. The independent survey has recorded “the lowest level of public hopefulness in the Philippines since July 2002,” with 21 percent of Filipinos seeing the country as hopeless and 32 percent undecided.
Given the opportunity, three in 10 Filipinos would migrate to another country. Why is this so? To reply this question, allow me to quote the words of a journalist friend: “Before I got here in Thailand, I thought the Philippines, despite its economic crisis, is still good enough. However, a month in Thailand has made me reconsider my opinions and entertain thoughts on why our country is in the morass we’re in right now.”
On the brighter side, 49 percent of the people surveyed by Pulse Asia continue to see hope. “When hope is taken away from a people,” commented Pulitzer Prize-winning author Pearl S. Buck, “moral degeneration follows swiftly thereafter.”
Several proverbs have been written about hope. “A misty morning does not signify a cloudy day,” states an ancient proverb. “He who has health, has hope; and he who has hope, has everything,” an Arabian proverb points out. An English proverb notes: “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.” A Turkish proverb takes one step: “Things never go so well that one should have no fear, and never so ill that one should have no hope.” A Zen saying tops it all: “From the withered tree, a flower blooms.”
Famous people have also written something on the subject. “Man is, properly speaking, based upon hope, he has no other possession but hope; this world of his is emphatically the place of hope,’ says Scottish essayist and historian Thomas Carlyle.
World peace advocate Norman Cousins believes: “The human body experiences a powerful gravitational pull in the direction of hope. That is why the patient's hopes are the physician's secret weapon. They are the hidden ingredients in any prescription.”
Internationally-renowned German-American psychologist Erich Fromm contends, “To hope means to be ready at every moment for that which is not yet born, and yet not become desperate if there is no birth in our lifetime.”
American President John F. Kennedy advices: “We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes.” The reason, according to author and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, is because “we judge of man's wisdom by his hope.”
“The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for,” Barbara Kingsolver quips. “And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.”
François de la Rochefoucauld agrees: “Hope is the last thing that dies in man; and though it be exceedingly deceitful, yet it is of this good use to us, that while we are traveling through life it conducts us in an easier and more pleasant way to our journey's end.”
William Shakespeare, the father of English literature,
penned: “The miserable have no other medicine but only hope.” To which Norman Vincent Peale urges: “Practice hope. As hopefulness becomes a habit, you can achieve a permanently happy spirit.”
If you lose hope, that is the end of everything.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (please, don’t call him “Long” for short) averred: “The setting of a great hope is like the setting of the sun. The brightness of our life is gone.” Jose Joaquin Olmedo added: “He who does not hope to win has already lost.”
Do you think you are already a hopeless case? A couple of years back, I came across a thought written by an unknown author. It goes something like this:
“If you can find beauty in the colors of a small flower, then you still have hope. If you can find pleasure in the movement of a butterfly, then you still have hope. If the smile of a child can still warm your heart, then you still have hope. If you can see the good in other people, then you still have hope.
“If the rain breaking on a roof top can still lull you to sleep, then you still have hope. If the sight of a rainbow still makes you stop and stare in wonder, then you still have hope. If the soft fur of a favored pet still feels pleasant under your fingertips, then you still have hope.
“If you meet new people with a trace of excitement and optimism, then you still have hope. If you give people the benefit of a doubt, then you still have hope. If you still offer your hand in friendship to others that have touched your life, then you still have hope.
“If receiving an unexpected card or letter still brings a pleasant surprise, then you still have hope.
If the suffering of others still fills you with pain and frustration, then you still have hope. If you refuse to let a friendship die, or accept that it must end, then you still have hope. If you can look to the past and smile, then you still have hope.
“Hope is such a marvelous thing. It bends, it twists, it sometimes hides, but rarely does it break. It sustains us when nothing else can. It gives us reason to continue and courage to move ahead, when we tell ourselves we'd rather give in. Hope puts a smile on our face when the heart cannot manage.
“Hope puts our feet on the path when our eyes cannot see it. Hope moves us to act when our souls are confused of the direction. Hope is a wonderful thing, something to be cherished and nurtured, and something that will refresh us in return. And it can be found in each of us, and it can bring light into the darkest of places.”
Oscar Hammerstein II, the usually unaccredited American director for almost forty years, wrote this classic line in a song: “Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart; and you'll never walk alone; you'll never walk alone.”
For comments, write me at firstname.lastname@example.org