I had several random notebooks sitting on my table and I didn't see it in any of them.
I was disappointed but we moved on in our conversation.
Saturday, I was out shopping and while at Garden Ridge Pottery, I decided I needed to use the ladies' room.
Now, this isn't a big deal usually but I RARELY use public restrooms..it's just a thing I have but I remembered that Garden Ridge had a nice public restroom with about 10 sturdy stalls and a whole wall of those automatic sinks.
I checked a few stalls and for various reasons, I vetoed them. I finally chose a clean looking stall and walked in, closing the door behind me.
I immediately noticed that someone had written something quite long (long for bathroom graffiti) on the wall. It was written in sharpie and I didn't notice the words "For a good time call..." or anything profane. It completely caught my attention.
The words on the wall had me stunned for several minutes. I just stood there, reading them over and over.
I dug in my purse for my pen and tiny trusty journal but....no pen.
How could I not have a pen?
I wondered what to do...do I ask another stallmate for a pen? Is that weird to ask to borrow a pen in the bathroom?
I wasn't brave enough to find out.
I grabbed my cell phone and left myself a voice memo.
Of course, talking to yourself into your phone while inside a bathroom stall is weirder than asking for a pen, I think...but anyway...
Just now I grabbed my phone to retrieve my voice memo to share with you and...it's gone....completely disappeared like it never existed.
I panicked for a moment but then realized that I remember every single word written on that wall. I didn't need my voice memo.
Here is what it said:
Hope is the only human emotion that will destroy your spirit. If you have hope in your heart, be prepared for disappointment and despair.....
The last sentence had been scratched out.
Why had that anonymous writer given up hope? What compelled her to write about her lack of hope on a bathroom wall? Was she asking for help? Was she lamenting the loss of her hope?
The reason why I was so stunned by these words was because I knew it was the opposite of what I had written in my missing notebook about hope.
I left that bathroom with a goal. I was going to find that notebook.
I half-assed looked Saturday night but Sunday, I woke up with this incredible need to find it. I thought maybe I had left it in a bag at work so I hauled my ass to work on a Sunday and dug through my bag and my desk...no luck.
I came back home and went through my random notebooks on my table and realized it was there all along. I just didn't recognize what I had written.
I'm going to pretty much copy it here verbatim:
I'm afraid of hopelessness. W/out hope you have nothing.
Life is centered around hope.
Hope drive us to live, to love and to have faith.
You must have hope to:
fall in love
get an education
strive for success
get out of bed every morning
go to work
move on after a death
Hope Hope Hope Hope Hope Hope Hope
for a better life
for a future
for something more.....
I'm not sure where my head was when I wrote this. I know where *I* was. I was at my nephew's grave.
When I feel overwhelmed by life...by my feelings, I go and sit at Rick's grave and I just let myself relax and FEEL.
I started taking my notebook with me because I would often feel compelled to write down the ideas I would get and the realizations that would hit me while sitting there "talking" to Rick.
When I wrote about my fear of hopelessness, I suddenly realized that it's hope that keeps us going.
We hope that tomorrow will be a better day. We hope that we meet someone and fall in love. We hope for a better job. We hope for understanding from those who don't.
For what other reason do we continue on through struggles and grief if not for hope?
When I read what that poor woman wrote on a bathroom wall, I realized she could be me. She's lost her hope.
Maybe I found it.
Other titles for this entry I considered:
Destiny in the Crapper
Life DEPENDS on Hope
I Hope I Make It