Friday, February 13, 2009

Hope Springs Eternal

Alexander Pope truly hit things on the head when he penned the infamous words I quoted above. It goes a little something like this:

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

-Alexander Pope,
An Essay on Man, Epistle I, 1733

Incidentally, I looked up "expatiates" and it means to wander without limits. Food for thought. =) So in other words, we cling to hope in this life, doing the best that we can, and someday, we'll get to catch up on little things like rest, relaxation, and travel in the next realm. =D That's something to hope for, to my way of thinking.

As you can possibly tell, I've been thinking about hope lately. It must be important, considering how many times it's mentioned in the scriptures. I believe that hope is crucial to surviving mortal mode, and all of the adventures that go along with it.

We've been experiencing a few adventures in our neck of the woods lately. Some are incredible blessings, like the sealing that took place between a nephew and his wife on Saturday. Several of us gathered for this event at the Logan Temple and it was a wonderful day. Tim and Heidi were glowing with happiness, as this picture depicts:

It was truly the highlight of our week. And after witnessing the eternal union of this wonderful couple, we then traversed across town to the famed Bluebird Restaurant for a delicious bite of lunch. We ate, we visited, we took lots of pictures.

It was a fun day, and one we'll remember fondly for a very long time---even if we had to drive back to Bear Lake in yet another winter storm. ;) We returned home safely to the 2-3 feet of snow that blankets our front yard. Despite the white fluffy stuff, we have hope that someday spring will make an arrival. The Gurney's Seed Catalog showed up at our house over the weekend, so I know winter will eventually depart and I can play in the dirt. =)

Tomorrow I will be singing at a funeral. My sister's m-i-l passed away and it is a time of sorrow for this family. Still, there is hope. This good woman is no longer suffering from the physical ailment that caused such misery in her life. And family bonds are eternal bonds. This should give us all the hope in the world when a loved one moves on past mortal bounds. There will be tears and tugs at the heart, but in time, that will be replaced by a calming peace we call the Comforter. That precious gift helps us to survive stormy moments in our lives. It is a gift of loving hope.

Recently I faced quite an obstacle. I serve as the YW president in our ward, and the famed New Beginnings program is on the horizon. As a presidency, we had decided that it would be wonderful to show a DVD containing all of the pictures we had taken of our YW during this past year, complete with accompanying music. We planned for it to be a goodly portion of our program, something we hoped would be entertaining and inspiring. The only downside: one of us needed to put the thing together.

I volunteered for this task. I had received a new external DVD burner for Christmas a couple of months ago, and I had high hopes that I would be able to figure out how to run it, and the new programs that came with it. As time progressed, I discovered that the manual that came with this DVD burner wasn't much help, nor was the online "help" site. It repeated everything that I found in the five page manual, which pretty much shared how to turn on the machine and plug it into my computer. Ahhh.

A few months ago, I suffered a little head injury this past summer at girls' camp. A heavy metal pipe bonked me on top of the head. I suffered a bit from this adventure, and I still seem to have a few glitches, as my children would be the first to point out. Like the time over Thanksgiving when I asked one of my sons to retrieve some potatoes from our pantry downstairs. I handed him a bag and said:

"Would you please bring up some Yakima potatoes?"

I thought I had made perfect sense. In my mind I had said Yukon. It wasn't until my children roared with laughter (thank heavens my cute granddaughter was too little to point fingers and make fun) that I realized my mistake. Sigh . . . and yes, "Yakima" has become a family saying, whenever someone in the family slips up in some way. "Was that a Yakima moment?" tends to be asked. Did I mention, "sigh . . ."? ;)

Time passed and I figured all was well. I've been playing several computer games that make one think, like puzzles, word games, hidden--object adventures, etc. determined to help my poor brain heal. Then the other night as I attended a town meeting, I messed up again. This time I butchered someone's name. I've known this lady for years, and I completely botched her name. Once again, people were rolling off their chairs laughing hysterically. It was another "Yakima" adventure.

Despite all of that, I still had hope that I would be able to figure out my new DVD burner and complicated programs. And after a week of pulling out my hair, I finally experienced success. I was able to put together a DVD of the YW pictures, and I even figured out how to make a copy of this same DVD for all of our YW, since I'm certain it will be a treasure for them to cherish. ;)

I'm sharing this experience because I think it represents how we can cling to hope during these crazy latter-days. First, we have to be grateful for all that we've been blessed with, even items like snow. Because of all of this snow, we'll have plenty of water during the warmer spring and summer months. Stuff like that.

Next, we have to persevere, despite "Yakima" moments. We push on, doing the best that we can, trusting that we'll have the help of heaven after we've done our part.

And after we've endured a bit of testing and stretching, then we'll see the end result if we don't give up, whether it's a temple sealing, mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner, or an inspiring DVD for New Beginnings that is our goal. =)

Hope does spring eternal within our souls, though we may not realize it when trials descend and all seems lost. The key again is to never give up.

Thomas Edison is one of my heroes---for this very reason. The man never gave up. When he was growing up, his teachers thought he was slow. He finally dropped out of school and his mother taught him at home. He finished his own education by reading constantly and performing experiments in the basement of his home. He never did attend college. This didn't stop him from inventing numerous devices that we still use to this day, like a durable incandescent light bulb, and the phonograph. He invented the phonograph despite the fact that he was partially deaf. What a guy! People like Tom inspire me to hang in there, despite my little Yakima glitches. ;)

So my message today is simply this, despite the challenges of our time, allow hope to spring eternal. I suspect when it's all said and done, items like that will be what really matters.


Michele Ashman Bell said...

Such an uplifting and inspiring post, Cheri. I am a very optimistic person and cling to hope always. I also realize that my life is full of Yakima moments and love knowing I'm not alone, and that there is a name for this syndrome. And here I thought it was old age!

Jennie said...

I too blamed my memory glitches on old age, then this morning I read an interesting article in the newspaper that points out that an ingredient in allergy medication is responsible for weird brain freezes, and now I know it's something called Yakima. (I thought Yakima was that place in Washington where National Guard guys go for two week summer camps.) Great blog, Cheri. I, too, am a strong believer in hope. It's the first step toward faith and the one thing that keeps humankind striving onward and upward.