that perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.” – Emily Dickinson
The other day I tried to resuscitate a dead plant with hope.
My husband and son were convinced the plant, which suffered frost bite, was hopeless. Still something in me wouldn’t let this little plant go without a fight.
After a month of nurturing, the plant surprised us all and made a comeback. When I thought it over, I realized I never gave up hope because I was reared in it.
In fact, Emily Dickinson’s version of hope was played out at our house day after day at the kitchen table. My father would ask my sister, Pam, every morning if she wanted orange juice. And, every morning Pam would say without fail, “No thanks, Dad.”
Finally, after years of what Pam considered a senseless offer, she said, “Dad, why do you keep asking me if I want orange juice when I tell you no every day?”
My Dad smiled, showing the crease of his laugh lines, and said: “I thought you might change your mind.”
My Dad was the most hopeful human being I have ever known. He was invincible in his hopefulness. Some people thought my father suffered from “blind hope.” I have a soft spot for him because I, myself, have been accused of having “blind hope.” But after giving it careful thought, I don’t believe hope can be anything but blind.
Hope cannot be confined to logic. Hope is unlimited and expansive, but most of all unstoppable. I love my father for showing me this version of hope, for trying to serve what I now call “optimistic orange juice” to my sister every morning.
Funny thing about hope. The dauntless version yields surprising results. My sister Pam, now and again, drinks orange juice, and my little plant decided to give life another go.