Saturday, April 06, 2013


If there’s one thing that can be said about THE HOPE LADY Blog, it is this: Things get pretty quiet on the blog when its author has a lot of conflicting feelings up near the surface where they might overwhelm the hope—grief, sadness, disappointment, anger to name a few—that yearning for the past that assails you from time to time. They say you should be careful what you publish on the Net where so many people se it and it never goes away. They are right about that. I have noticed, to my great relief, that I can still speak publicly about hope these days—still speak about it with credibility and honesty, speak it in a manner that causes others to feel it--even though I have hardly dared to write about it. You might say I have been forced to speak about it, having promised to do so last year when I was still working at the Hope Foundation. When your name is published in a conference program you show up to speak and it had better be good. Of myself I would expect nothing less. Thus I could keep commitments to appear, as I have this past winter, at discussion groups for seniors, conferences for people who work with seniors, Alzheimer family care partner training sessions, women’s conferences, illness conferences, and an educational psychology classroom where the students have gathered to spend a whole term studying hope. There’s no change in the good chemistry that bubbles up when you combine the time-tested ideas with the people who showed up to hear them. That said, the act of writing to a silent public is not quite as straightforward as speaking to them in person. People have said, of late, that my blog is a disappointment to them. Correction: they have said they read some of the things I used to write and I could sense their disappointment. When they said this I thought: I will write when the family obligations taking up my time have subsided and I have more time. I will write when I am no longer assisting with therapy, attending an end to life, rescuing people from floods, ridding others of bedbugs. So it surprised me when I began to have more time and still I was not writing. People continued to be disappointed. To myself I promised: I will write again in the spring. I need a symbol of hope to inspire me. I always feel inspired in the spring, and THE HOPE LADY strives to be inspiring. But spring is slow in coming to Edmonton this year. Anybody with a pesimistic outlook might surely say that spring is simply refusing to arrive. The first week of April is already gone and still the snow is falling, snow on snow, snow on snow. The weather forecast predicts more snow. To myself I said: I will write when I am a little more familiar with my new working self, a little more comfortable with my evolving public image. Last Thursday I was out in Westlock speaking to a support group for blind people. These days I am working part time for the CNIB. My official title is: Clinical Counsellor—a fascinating contrast with my chosen title, THE HOPE LADY. I have been striving for months to achieve a seamless fit between the ideas of clinical—a suggestion of professional expertise—and hope, a deeply personal and relational phenomenon. That struggle goes on even as I write this morning. Last Thursday the Westlock group presented me with a bouquet of tulips, a sure sign of spring. But these were—if they were going to be anything at all--tulips of the future. In the present they were tulips closed up tight, tulips not at all certain, it seemed to me, that they wanted to come out and be real flowers. Who can blame them? What self-respecting tulip would open up in this weather? But the tulips, it seems, were only pretending reluctance. This morning they stand on my kitchen table, alive, alert, proud and beautiful tulips in the fullness of tulip glory. When I asked them what made them decide to open up, they said, “Fake it till you make it.” And so I left the tulips in their glory and climbed the stairs to put something on this blog. Just a little tulip wisdom, brought to you, in writing on a very snowy Saturday, by THE HOPE LADY.

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