Miriam, one of my oldest and dearest friends, is a philosopher. These days she’s been writing about hope, so we’ve had a few talks about the difference between hope and optimism. From the beginning of this illness, I have said that while I was positive, I wasn’t optimistic. Optimism is a tricky thing. And so is hope. Many messages I’ve received have encouraged me not to give up hope. While the intentions here are obviously good, I haven’t quite known what to do with this advice. Though I’m a generally optimistic person, since I first became unwell a few months ago, I have felt that this illness was not going to be curable. So I never really had hope. But that doesn’t mean I’ve felt despair. For me, the opposite of hope has been acceptance. And that has been very positive—nothing like despair, which is, as Miriam would tell you, the truer opposite of hope. So while I don’t have hope that I will get better, I am okay with that. What I do hope is that everyone around me will also be okay, that we will all find the strength and courage and love we need to get us through this, that those of us who need to be comforted and healed will be, that we will experience deep connection with each other, with nature, with the entire universe. That we will not lose sight of love as our guiding light. But even here, rather than hope, I have faith.
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