I started my last journal with a T.S. Eliot quote: "I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing."
Apparently when I started the journal, I found the quote applicable. The words make sense – especially since, as strange as it seems, my journal is actually a written compilation of letters to God rather than the deep inner working of my mind written to no one in particular. T.S. Eliot is right, I do often hope for (and pray for) the “wrong” things. Plus I'm edgy and impatient and occasionally hostile when my prayers don't yield what I want them to. I wonder, though, what life would be like if I were able to enter some meditative-type/acquiescent stage of my life and just wait around contently for things to play out the "right" way.
I juxtaposed T.S. Eliot’s quote with an entry that asks God for the strength and guidance to:
1. Complete my book, write and mail query letters and proposals and find an ideal-type agent and publisher.
2. Find a job that capitalizes on my strengths and allows me to give of myself to others.
3. Learn to be more proactive rather than reactive when faced with challenging situations (i.e. anticipate such challenges and learn to deal with them in an effective and reasonable fashion rather than throwing temper tantrums etc.).
4. Heal physically.
5. Write, give, reflect and spread love.
6. Love at least one person more than I do now. Learn to accept and appreciate love in return.
7. Cultivate grace, willpower, and improved character.
All seven of those prayer requests necessitate a certain amount of hope, right? They also require patience and faith and, in some respects, self-motivation. Maybe T.S. Eliot was right, and we should just sit back and wait for the things we need, but I’m worried about what I’d do in the interim. I despise apathy.
Plus, I'm willing to admit that sometimes I hope for the wrong things: my ex will not fall magically in love with me, I most likely will not wake up tomorrow morning without MS, and unless I make a few phone calls and continue to write, I will likely never find my dream job. But something pushes me to embrace life in spite of loneliness, a neurological disease and a nonexistent publishing contract. For me it's hope. It’s the fundamental belief that, as the unknown author purports, “Everything will be okay in the end. If it is not okay, it is not the end.”
In the meantime, I’ll most likely wait with hope, a moderate amount of predictable impatience and the acknowledgement that, until my limbs refuse to cooperate at all, I will not “be still.”