Friday, December 16, 2005

Hopelessly Hopeful

Ooooh, it's so chilly here in Northeast Ohio. I'm just not a big fan of being cold. I'm a lot less of a fan since the gas company tripled my monthly budget amount; apparently while I was in the process of moving, the rest of the world got to sign on to a better deal. Oh well.

"Oh well." I say that a lot, but I don't think I mean it like most folks do. I'm genuinely, helplessly, hopelessly hopeful. This used to drive people nuts, and I think it still does. Despite my inner cynic, I've always been one to try again, to say, "Well, there's a reason for this. We just don't know what it is," and try to keep moving.

I must get this from my mother, whose father left my grandmother with two young girls to raise while he started a new life with another woman. From a young age, my mother and aunt worked pretty tirelessly alongside Grandma to put food on the table, domestic work, washing other people's laundry. Yet, Grandma always found a place for other people in her heart, found a way to reach beyond the mess she had on her hands. A handful of lucky readers are well aware of the famous Scotch great grandmother's recipe. My grandmother, despite being flat broke with two girls to raise, would bake these perfect golden buttery brown cookies and give them to the people whose underwear she washed! For cryin' out LOUD, Doris! Sigh. It's hard to keep the women in my family down.

And boy, am I ever glad for that. My beloved sister and I come from a long line of proud, thick-headed Englishwomen. Even when we're so sad and sick of everything, we always find a way to laugh and keep going. We can turn any sorrowful situation and find the joy and meaning hidden within, without losing our edge, our wisdom.

Not everyone can put up with that. I'm so glad for the friends I have who understand what a dopey romantic I am. I live for that feeling of being completely overwhelmed with the reality of life's quirky, untamed agenda. Once a prisoner in my own home, in my own soul, now I thrive on not having the slightest idea of what might be around the corner. Sure, sometimes it scares the crap out of me and when genuine mourning is required, I honor it with all that it demands. But I always end up back on my feet, ready to keep moving, loving, living, working, dreaming, changing.

I have had days when I didn't think that was possible. I lived through weeks of mourning my lost hope. There really were days that I felt I could not go on. I know, I really do know, what it's like to want to leave this world and all its frustration behind, to step quietly out of the room and see if anyone notices.

Then a funny thing happened. My hope just....came back. Just showed up like an old friend, with a banjo on its knee.

This tune is by no means a bluegrass tune, although almost everyone will know it. It's the song, "Helplessly Hoping," and for as long as I can remember it's been one of my most favorite songs. The thing I first loved, and have always loved, about CSNY was the way they nailed the singing. All that great protest stuff sits fine with my liberal consciousness, but ultimately, the singing is what keeps me coming back for more.

And this song is just so beautiful in its simplicity. In my next life, maybe I'll play guitar like that. No next life, you say? Well, I can hope, can't I?

Have a wonderful night. And never give up your hope.

Helplessly Hoping
Stephen Stills
Helplessly hoping her harlequin hovers nearsby
Awaiting a word
Gasping at glimpses of gentle true spirit he runs,wishing he could fly
Only to trip at the sound of good-bye

Wordlessly watching he waits by the window /
and wonders at the empty place inside
Heartlessly helping himself to her bad dreams he worries
Did he hear a good-bye or even

They are 1 person
They are too alone
They are 3 together
They are for each other

Stand by the stairway you'll see something certain to tell you
Confusion has its cost
Love isn't lying its loose in a lady who lingers
Saying she is lost
And choking on hello

They are 1 person
They are too alone
They are 3 together
They are for each other


At December 17, 2005 7:50 AM, Blogger Shannon said...

Sometimes I think it all boils down to that we (I'll put you, me, Lynne in the list) are not "Why me?" people. If this is the hope that you write about then that be it, I've never been able to figure out what keeps me up and going when all the world is broken...

Happy St. Lazarus Day!

At December 18, 2005 3:41 PM, Blogger My Boring Best said...


What a nice post. It's great to hear about how you find the stuff to just keep going. It's true that many people just aren't like that.

You inspire me to do the same.

At December 18, 2005 7:17 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Hi fellas,

Thanks. Shannon, out of the three of us I am certainly the one prone to whining! Jim, I'm glad to hear that. I think I'm too curious about life and how it might turn out to lose interest for long.

Thanks for stopping by...


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