The Antagonist of Hope

By Emma Majcen

Artwork by Caroline Vaughan

Fear, I tell you, is the antagonist of hope. A feeling capable of depressing our dreams as one’s imagination reveals a probable darker path. In sight of a future riddled with misfortune we anxiously wait. But, if we are lucky enough, our position is not fixed for long. Hope may be noticed as the eye meets the edge of a shadow. And upon the intoxication of pleasant fantasy we may commence the once thought impossible climb out of the pit of gloom.

Yet, achievement is not a product of one shade. If the target of one’s desire is to be hit, then a dart must be fired from the tug of fear and the thrust of hope.

You see, fear has its function. It wakes you from your shaded rest before the apple tree rots. By imagining the worst down from a cloud we fall to the surface of earth and sometimes beyond. We must fear the worst if we are to avoid it and advance.

And hope, that which cradles the soul upon the greeting of catastrophe, allows one to see, in amongst the wreckage, a potential for growth. Bricks will remain idle till their use envisaged. This world is no heaven as it certainly is no hell; beauty and debris share the same border. In such a place, only fools pack a suitcase with only fear or hope.

Saturated by hope our limbs become heavy and with langourous ease we bask under a false sun. The pleasure of imagining may defer production as the effort of labour is realised. This is our induced indolence confirmed by the idle bricks. The grot of the present ignored as an image of a utopic future is attended.

But to drink too much fear brings about trouble of an equally disturbing nature. Our once-upon-a-time worst imaginings will grow into seemingly inescapable defeats. Confronted with such terror, real or imagined, would ruin any sane soul. In gloom’s pit we stay and dreams are seen bitterly as a privilege of the naïve. In turning our back on the world, a sombre darkness invades our vision.

Utmost care must be taken with the toil of fear or hope. Indulgence of either can leave us paralysed and nowhere closer to achievement. But, we mustn’t forget in all this parley that a greater truth lies. You see, all we could ever dream, desire or imagine exists all around us in every minute moment. Love, misery, joy and apathy. Whether or not we fail or triumph, life and its many shades will inevitably go on. But, if we engulf ourselves in the nightmare of fear or the paradise of hope, all that might escape us. And the greatest story of them all might be missed.

Anyone can be entertained by the imaginary but it takes true strength of character to grow a fondness for genuine life.

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