Oct 11, 2015

Keep Hope Alive

I was so happy to see Holly* at a 50th birthday party for a dear friend that I hadn’t realized we shared. I had not seen her since she took photos for me at the launch party for my first book. Over the years, Holly’s photographic work for me has served as a chronicle of sorts for my post-divorce transformation, documenting several key life events with her beautiful photos. Furthermore, just months after my separation, she took a series of body affirming, self-esteem building, portraits which really helped me visualize myself as beautiful, perhaps for the first time.   So seeing her after two years was most welcome.

As we chatted and caught up, I was surprised to hear her casually mention her husband. She was a newlywed and she was 51 years old. Married for the first time. She said to me, “I’m the poster child for ‘keep hope alive.’”.

I remember a conversation we had while pouring over the prints from my photo shoot. She was sharing resolutions or intentions for the New Year, it was more than five years ago. I distinctly remember one of her resolutions was to find someone to love who loved her in return. I remember recoiling at that intention, at the time, still healing from the wounds of a marriage ended.

More than five years later, her intention had manifested. Holly told me that she met her husband-to be while dining out, alone, at the bar of a local restaurant. He was dining solo as well and after an evening of furtive looks, as he was paying the bill, Holly said “Oh, you’re leaving already? I was just about to join you.” He invited her to do so and the rest, as they say, is history. Six months later, they were wed.

Keep. Hope. Alive.

She showed me the most beautiful wedding pictures, and looked me in the eyes and said,” I am telling all my girls—Don’t give up.” Surely she was a testament to staying positive, remaining hopeful and believing that it’s never too late.

I recognize that marriage is not something desired by everyone or objectively something to be longed for, but the principles Holly enacted, I believe can work for anyone for anything that a heart desires, especially if you have wanted it and waited for it for a long time.

    1. Stay Positive: Holly did not become embittered by her single state. She did not begrudge her friends who had married, or in some cases married, divorced, and remarried before her. She was the consistent voice of encouragement and support to those around her.
    2. Remain Open: Holly did not sit at home waiting to do the things she wanted to do. She went out, often alone. She was an active participant in social events. She pursued her interests. She was engaged in the environment around her, wherever she was.
    3. Take Action: Holly sat down the bar from her husband-to-be for almost an entire meal before she said something. She did not let the moment pass her by. She spoke up. She seized the moment. She took a chance. And it paid off.
    4. Keep. Hope. Alive: I believe that is the enduring message of my brief encounter with Holly. She never stopped believing that what she desired (in her case lasting love) could happen for her. Despite the odds, despite the statistics, despite the horror stories of others and bad experiences she endured, Holly kept hoping. She kept believing. Holly never gave up. Staying the course with hope was the lesson for me and the entire reason I went to that birthday party in the first place: to be reminded that no matter how elusive the thing you long for, no matter the time your dream has been deferred, and no matter how long it takes…if we stay positive, remain open, take action and keep hope alive—eventually, it will come to pass.

*Names have been changed

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