I can’t believe I’m asking this question. I’ve been so careful about curating all my books and movies to only include stories that are uplifting, hopeful and redemptive, and yet I wonder if seeking only to find Hollywood, happily-ever-after endings, I have done myself more harm than good. I wonder if my entitlement attitude comes from a lifetime of these stories which have set me up to expect, and hope for, the best possible outcomes and be sorely disappointed when things don’t turn out the way that I hope.

These tales of against-all-odds seem so inspiring — and perpetuate the belief that all things are possible. And I don’t disagree — anything is possible, especially with God. But not everything is probable. Why do we think that we might be that one in a million that survives the disease… or wins the lottery… or makes it off the island?

Sometimes I think the hope produced by these stories is false hope just to string us along one day more and lead 999,999 of us down a rathole chasing something that may never be. Which then begs the question, what is genuine hope? What is real hope that goes beyond these saccharine stories? Sometimes I find that people share stories almost to invalidate my story and my suffering — like, oh, don’t worry, things will be OK because I have a friend who was in your situation and it all worked out for him/her. But again, just because something works out for one person, it does not mean it will work out for me. It also does not mean that it will NOT work out for me, either. All I’m saying is our stories are all unique and separate, with some shared similarities but no predictive powers.

So how do we live without resignation but with acceptance, hope, and realistic expectation? Can we continue to try, die trying, take risks, accept failure, and fight the good fight, even while knowing and accepting that the chances we will prevail might be really tiny? How do we persevere without losing heart and becoming jaded?

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