Hope is at the root

Drew, Jeff, Matt and I enjoy the view from the Reagan Library, July 2004

Drew, Jeff, Matt and I enjoy the view from the Reagan Library, July 2004

“Hope is at the root of all the great ideas and causes that have bettered the lot of humankind across the centuries.”Ronald Reagan

Touring the beautiful grounds of the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, it isn’t hard to understand why he was such an optimist.  There’s something about California that always inspired hope in me, too.  As a state, California is younger, wilder (in more ways than one) and seemingly boundless; the sky there feels as wide as the Pacific Ocean that stretches along the coast.

While California has some natural advantages other states may lack, I’ve found that all places have their own unique spots of serenity and calm beauty.  At times, I have to escape to some of these places to keep my optimism from being dashed to pieces by the turbulence of everyday life.  Hope is what carries us through the difficult times, and ignites our desire to take action and make things better in some way.  It really does lie at the root of all progress.

It’s easy to look back at times of positive change and forget how dubious or frightening they seemed at the time. It’s equally easy to be cynical and complain endlessly about what we see in the present.  While there is a vital place for criticism and correction, there is also much to be thankful for in any era, and there are always opportunities for improvements, large and small.  When the overscheduled days, grinding traffic or televised histrionics get you down, try escaping to a place that will help you re-connect with hope.

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Sheila

    Good early morning, Julia. Supersize my java please☕️! We have a busy day, taking the motorhome inland a ways, for service. We’re hoping to get moving (truly) because of the heat. We have been to Simi Valley and Reagan Presidential Library since this was originally posted. What a meaningful day we spent there. I love this photo, my friend. Hope seems more important than ever, doesn’t it? We may need to dust off our “rose colored glasses”. Loving thoughts cross the miles 💖🙏🏻

    • Sheila, you and me both on the supersize coffee. This heat makes me so lethargic. Isn’t the Reagan library great? In fact, I’ve enjoyed each presidential library I’ve ever been to. The biggest surprise was how much fun the Nixon library was. It has the entire home he grew up in, sitting there on the museum grounds and open where you can wander through, at least they did many years ago. They might not be able to do that now. But his collection of letters to and from various famous people and kids and so on (in the main building of the museum) was fun to read through. Of course the Carter library was so close to my heart because, as a Georgia native, I remember the excitement of the 1976 election. I can’t remember if I’ve been to any others. Yes, the rose-colored glasses are sorely needed, but in recent years, mine have taken on a decidedly grayish tint. Maybe I should get some new ones. 😀 ❤

  2. Good morning, Julia!
    Thank you so much for this post today. I especially was drawn to “I have to escape to some of these places to keep my optimism from being dashed to pieces by the turbulence of everyday life.”
    Now I’m asking myself, what do I need to do, to “keep my optimism from being dashed to pieces”?
    Today we’re expecting gorgeous weather (and tomorrow, excessive hear, followed by thunderstorms this weekend), so I must get out into the sun for a bit today and get some vitamin D.
    Thank you for the inspiring notion.

    • Susan, I hope you are able to get outside while it’s a bit cooler. Yes, those of us who choose optimism have had quite the bumpy ride this year, haven’t we? But as I’ve mentioned before, this worldwide chaos and shattered status quo is all just a haunting echo of what the last four years, and to some extent the last 8 years, have been like for me. So for me personally, this is minor in comparison– not that it’s minor at all, in any sense of the word, except relatively speaking. I keep reminding myself that periodic struggles against overwhelming inner negativity are part of the total picture of being a stubbornly positive person. People who insultingly call us “Pollyannas” have no idea how much effort it takes to defeat despair on a daily basis. Joanne Rogers once said of her husband Fred, that people didn’t realize how angry he often got, and how difficult it was for him to stay as calm, kind and compassionate as he was all the time, to everyone. I could identify with that because I always saw a side of Jeff no one else saw. Don’t let the effort fool you into thinking that you’re not cut out to defeat despair. You are!

  3. Chris

    Great view, and great post! It really is timeless. And what better way to defeat despair than to have hope. Yet, where do we derive our hope from? People with “character” know that our hope comes from the Lord. One of my favorite passages; Rom. 5: 3-5.
    (3) And not only that, but we[d] also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, (4) and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, (5) and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
    Here’s hoping you and Matt have a wonderful day! 😊

    • Chris, that is a beautiful verse, isn’t it? Thanks for reminding me of it today. I think it’s an interesting one to contemplate, because the notion of character producing hope is not how I usually think of it. I would be inclined to say that the hope has to precede the endurance and character. But instead, it’s the endurance that leads to character that leads to hope. While we lived in Hawaii, I went through what I later came to believe was an undiagnosed and untreated episode of depression. My prayers for some time were something along the lines of “I hope you will hang in there with me because I have nothing to say to you right now.” I later told a friend that when I emerged from the dark tunnel and God was still there, I realized God had been there all along. I said that next time I was in that tunnel I would know from experience that I would be able to see God again when I got to the end of the tunnel. That’s still a hard thing to hold on to, but endurance does indeed produce hope, which is a solid rock of an emotion, and not a form of timid wishful thinking.

      • Chris

        Amen, sister! You’ve got it! Have a wonderful evening.

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