I remember watching Hope Floats over and over again when I was sixteen. I’d just had a surgery on my hip, knee, and ankle. My parents had moved my bed to the family room so I wouldn’t have to do the stairs; I couldn’t walk and it was summer time. In hindsight, I was likely a little depressed about having to take time out of my busy schedule as a teenager to recover from yet another surgery.
So, I watched Hope Floats, emerging myself in the plot and the characters, crying with them and hurting with them…absorbing these little lessons that I couldn’t understand back then and barely understand now. I must have watched that video a hundred times that summer.
That movie wasn’t new: it was VHS. You remember those, right? The kind you had to rewind before watching. I kept watching it over and over again for that one line, when Sandra Bullock’s character says: “Beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s what’s in the middle that sounds. So when you find yourself at the beginning, just give hope a chance to float up. And it will.”
That resonated with me, and it stays with me even now. Just give hope a chance to float. And it will. I haven’t watched that movie since that summer of recovery, I no longer remember at what point she says it (maybe at the county fair during the last five minutes?), but I can still hear the words echoing in my mind. I can still relate to it.
If you’ve never seen Hope Floats before, you’ve missed out on something. I can still vaguely remember the plot: a woman finds out that not only is her husband cheating on her, but he’s cheating on her with her best friend. She finds this out while on national television, in front of their daughter. So, she returns home with her daughter to live with her mom. A variety of things happen to her, some more traumatic than others, and she struggles to keep hope. It’s so easy for us to fall victim to our circumstances and become bitter and jaded. Sandra’s character could have easily become bitter and jaded, but in the end she walks alway with the knowledge that hope floats.
When I’m struggling, when things feel so impossible and heavy..I think about that movie, that line, and I cling to it. Hope makes me feel better. Hope lifts me up with the darkness tries to consume me. I don’t let myself become bitter and jaded.
I have hope that I won’t always struggle. I have hope that the hard day will end and dawn will come with a new day and new possibilities. Each day is a new beginning, a new chapter. You don’t have to give into the fear and anxiety of the unknown; if you have faith, if you let hope float, you’ll come out alright.
I try to start out each day with a clean slate by saying; I have hope that today will be incredible. It usually works, and when it doesn’t…I take comfort in the knowledge that tomorrow is a new day. It’s not fool proof by any mean, but having hope helps. I try to to live in the sadness and slights of yesterday.
Hope is easy to have, you know. We are guilty of trying to stomp out our hope because it “isn’t practical”; but hope is practical. it’s natural. You just close your eyes and reach out a little to feel it. Sometimes, if you’ve been stomping out your hope for a while, it takes a little more stretching to reach…but it’s there. This is why disappointment weights heavy on our minds and hearts; because you had hope, and it didn’t work out the way you wanted. But that doesn’t mean you should stop hoping.
So keep hope; and the easiest way to keep hope is let go, close your eyes, reach out and feel it. Open your eyes to beauty and goodness and know that the sun rises each morning, just as surely as it sets in the evening; darkness is only temporary.
BIO: J.C. Hanging lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband, their two sons and two dogs. She writes new adult romance, through which she brings to light awareness of mental health and social challenges. Like any good Canadian, she loves hiking and carbs. Collide is her first novel.