As custom dictates, I should be acknowledging the fact that this is my first post this year, so I hope every one of you is having a good year so far, and will continue to do great things, which are worth remembering. Forgive me from diverting from the norms and not listing down the new year resolutions that I have so thoughtfully made, which will probably not materialise. Instead this post is about a feeling that seems to be an integral part of everyone's life and yet is so intangible and multi-dimensional that I fail to understand the extent to which one should let it bloom. That particular feeling is of Hope. There's an old saying in Urdu, امید پہ دنیا قائم ہے (umeed pai dunya qaa'im hai), which translates to the world is existing on hope, that explains how important hope is for mankind. From serious things like hoping to be alive the next moment, to trivial matters like hoping to get more of the purple jelly beans in a box, we all need hope. But I am here to figure out when one needs to stop hoping.
Understanding when our hopes and expectations become unreasonable is beyond me, fine rationale can be a guiding compass but at times one needs to defy logic and act upon faith alone to get by without being depressed, or even worse, suicidal. So at those times, hope is good, hope is what we need. But as every businessman knows oh so well, with every venture there is a probability of loss, and the successful businessmen are those who take smart risks realising these losses. Similarly, when you hope, surely there is a part of you that is expecting heart break, yes they say that having complete faith can(or maybe they use the word 'will') get you what you want, but I have my doubts, don't get me wrong, faith is good, but for something you believe in a hundred percent, whilst accepting the underlying possibility of heart break.
Now I believe that one can only take so much heart break, and thus it will be wise to not make hope one's first step when doing things, instead it is better to do all one can before hoping for things to turn out in their favour. So how do we know when hope is vain? The best way to learn something is from experience, so from experience I can say, that hoping for someone you love, to love you back in the same way is one of those times when one needs to stop hoping. If you think about someone all the time, it'd be nice to know that they think about you too, but its foolish to hope for such things to happen, because then you're just paving your way towards depression. Another one of these instances which perplex me too great degrees is, when is the right time to stop hoping for someone to come back and just let them go?
When you love someone, and I mean truly love someone, if they leave you, how do you not hope for them to come back? But then comes the time when this hope makes you dysfunctional, it disables you to love again and when that time comes, I think its best to say that hope is not your friend anymore. Here too the same rules applied in the beginning, when to hope was equivalent to breathe, but now its doing the opposite. Here, I want to mention something which was actually the reason why this particular thought process began in my mind. This isn't about loss of love, its more about life, or lack thereof.
I have a cousin, who is battling Cancer, and its been such a roller coster ride for her, with many lows and a few highs, and for those who know her, especially her mother, hope is all that there is, the doctors say they are trying their best, some treatments show results, others don't. Several times has she come to the brink of losing this battle and the last time that happened, which wasn't too long ago, talk became circulating how 'there was no hope for her' and at this point.... (I don't think I can get myself to say it) things didn't look too good. I personally didn't go to see her in ICU when she was on a ventilator, but from those who went I heard how there was pain in her eyes, how she was suffering and while she was unable to move tears rolled down her cheeks. It was a decisive moment for her husband, the doctor suggested an expensive treatment, which had a very little chance of being successful. He had to decide if it was time to let go and end her suffering, or go with the treatment. And I am glad he made the decision he did.
He decided to go with it, and in this matter hope did take us through and even though she isn't in a good condition yet, at least she is not in the hospital anymore. This got me thinking. I really want to tell you that I have a better conclusion for you, but I don't, all I have are a few questions so take it for what it is. When do you know it's time to let go? How do you pull the plugs on someone's life and then live with it? and perhaps the biggest question yet, When does hope become the enemy?
P.S. This one is for my cousin, Zehra Sajjad, she's 32, has a 6 year-old son and is still battling. She needs all the prayers she can get, please pray for her. And while hope still keeps us afloat, I am confident prayers will propel us ashore.
غمیں نہ ہو کہ بہت دور ہیں ابھی باقی
نئےستاروں سے خالی نہیں سپہر کبود
داکٹڑ علامہ محمد اقبالؔ
(Don't be sad that there is a long time to go
The blue sky isn't short of new stars
Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal.)