Hi, I’m Robin. A 61-year-old self-proclaimed people pleaser with a Pollyanna perspective. Like many my age, I grew up watching Leave It to Beaver, car caroling every Christmas Eve, ogling over Michael Jackson and Donnie Osmond, hanging Mayday baskets on neighbors’ doors, and picnicking as often as the weather allowed it. My childhood felt magical, good-natured and full of hope.
The ‘70s came knocking, bringing bell bottoms, disco dancing, boyfriends and even a husband. In the ‘80s we gave birth to two beautiful babies who grew up to be participants in science fairs, softball tournaments and Gus Macker weekends. College and grandbabies quickly followed. Life has been good. Challenges were few and far between, so it was easy to believe that more goodness was waiting around the corner.
But then in 2010, the tide changed for our family. What began as a misunderstanding with one person was followed by a landslide of misfortune which left my husband with a horrible diagnosis, our finances in the gutter, and our family dynamics fallen apart. The magic in the air had turned toxic. Things weren’t as they seemed and nothing made sense. Without going into much detail, a shift occurred which left me feeling quite hopeless. One Saturday evening, I realized that I’d used the word “hopeless” at least 25 times in conversation.
It wasn’t like me to feel so down. Thank goodness for intuitive friends! Deb, my pal and owner of the sweet little gift shop Relics, called me. She has a knack for calling at just the right time and obviously knew I needed something to help pull me out of my one-woman pity party. Her Sunday employee had called in sick, so she asked me to fill in. Of course, I agreed—what else was a hopeless individual to do all day?
A Magical Visitor
I woke up Sunday morning still thinking about my sad disposition and moseyed over to Relics. Once inside, I stood behind the cash wrap accompanied only by hopelessness. Before long, the door opened and my first two customers entered the shop—what appeared to be a mom-and-daughter duo. The little girl was as cute as can be, with curly hair, a tutu, sparkly tights and tennis shoes. But her greatest accessory, by far, was her contagious smile.
Her eyes lit up as she began noticing the many treasures around her. With awe and wonder, she picked up each and every object and yelled across the room, “Mom… Look!!!” This was inevitably followed by her mother’s voice saying over and over, “Honey, put that down—it’s not yours.” I smiled as I remembered my own mother’s voice telling me the exact same thing.
Before long, this wonderful little girl made her way to the counter and was standing directly across from me. She looked up, smiled and said, “What’s your name?” I was thrilled to answer her. “My name is Robin. How about you—what’s yours?”
She looked up at me and said, “My name is Hope!”
I was taken aback—flabbergasted, to be precise. “Hope, I’ve been waiting for you to walk in this door all day,” I responded. She cocked her head to one side and said, “Cool!” Then she skipped to the door, grabbed her mom’s hand, and they left.
I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Hope walked through the door specifically for me that day. I was Hope-less and then Hope-full. It was a day that I’ll remember forever.
Looking for Signs
Similar to our misfortune, the year 2020 was hashtagged alongside the word “hopeless” for so many. It came storming into our lives, bringing doubt, fear, anxiety and worry, and has failed to let up—even a smidgen.
Are you feeling hopeless? Are your thoughts rotating thoughts of despair? If so… what will your sign of HOPE look or sound like? Will it be the word HOPE on a billboard, or a hopeful song on the radio? Perhaps you’ll find a crumpled-up piece of paper with the word HOPE written on it. Or maybe it’ll come packaged in a little girl named Hope, like mine.
I wonder what would happen if you start looking for yours? I, for one, believe there are signs of hope everywhere—and the only difference between being Hope-less and Hope-full is being able to receive it. PM
Robin Albright, CPCC, is an artist, life and business visual coach, author and speaker. Visit robinalbrightstudios.com to learn more information.