“Strange as it may seem, I still hope for the best, even though the best, like an interesting piece of mail, so rarely arrives, and even when it does it can be lost so easily.”
~Lemony Snicket, The Beatrice Letters
If any of you have ever had the pleasure of reading Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, you know the significance of the above quote. The Baudelaire children have weathered one storm after another, and yet, for some inexplicable reason, they still have the ability to hope.
Why is that?
How is it that we can hold onto hope in seemingly hopeless circumstances?
That is the question I want to explore today.
Because, chances are, we have all experienced a series of unfortunate events in our lives at some point or another. They might not be as desperate as that of the Baudelaire children, but they register as unfortunate just the same.
The loss of a loved one. The loss of a job. The loss of a dream. An upsetting diagnosis. A natural disaster. A bad break-up…the list goes on.
And yet, in the midst of all that bad news, we somehow find ourselves waiting for the good to arrive. Are we trained to look for happy endings? Or, are we subconsciously aware that hope is never really lost, but merely misplaced?
Hope, you see, doesn’t always make sense.
When you find it in your mailbox, you might think it was addressed to the wrong person.
You might even be tempted to write on the envelope: wrong address.
But most likely, curiosity will get the better of you.
You open the letter and find these words:
Things will get better.
There is no mention of how they will get better. There is no mention of when or why they will get better. In fact, there is no explanation to be found at all.
But somehow, the message makes sense. Somehow, those four simple words fill your mind with other words–aspiration, desire, wish, expectation, aim, ambition, dream, optimism, expectation, confidence, faith, belief, conviction, assurance.
You see, as strange as it may seem, a little bit of hope can go a long way.
Indeed, the more we think about it, the less strange it is that hope arrives at the most unlikely times.
Because, when it comes down to it, unfortunate events lead us to dream of something better.
They lead us to imagine better circumstances. They lead us to pursue better futures. They lead us to create solutions to the problems that plague us.
When presented with bad news we are always presented with a choice. Do we choose to believe the worst? Or, do we choose to believe the best, like the Baudelaire children?
It may be that their decision is not so strange after all. It may be that hoping for the best makes the most sense. It might even be the most liberating option available.
What would happen if we exchanged the “happily ever after” mentality for the “hopeful ever after” mentality? Would we realize that it is possible to find happiness even in seemingly hopeless situations?
If we did, we might find that hope arrived with the bad news, but we never took the time to read it. We might find that the series of unfortunate events we are experiencing might actually be a series of encounters with hope.
Whatever kind of day, week, month, or year you are having, I want to encourage you that things will get better. I don’t know what kind of events you find yourself in the midst of, but it is my wish that this message of hope may find its way into your mailbox.
Keep looking for the best, and you just might find it.