Martha watched with envy, as her neighbour‘s new immaculate Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG black series drew up the driveway. Her neighbour Caroline waved to her but Martha pretended not to see her. She was sure Caroline had bought that car to annoy her and would not give her the satisfaction of thinking that she (Martha) was admiring her car. After all, here was Caroline, a young woman who seemed not to have a care in the world. She was happily married, had a good job in a large corporate organisation and two young and well brought up children. What did Caroline know about problems Martha thought to herself?
Martha was sure Caroline had never had to sweat for success. Martha was bitter. She knew she only had herself to blame. At university, she’d decided to focus her efforts on having a good time, rather than study. She then struggled to find a job and when she did, left after just six months because she thought she deserved better. She married in haste (a wealthy man but one who she did not love). She needed Jonathan her husband because without him, she knew she would be on the streets; the world did not hold out much promise for her and in her eyes, Caroline (her neighbour), had been born with a silver spoon and was too big for her boots. Her envy for Caroline her successful neighbour, was eating her up daily.
Caroline on the other hand, thanked the Creator daily, for the good life and fortune bestowed upon her. Who would have guessed that she’d been brought up in an orphanage. She grew up wanting nothing more than a roof over her head and a bowl of porridge a day. Her life changed when a young auntie at the orphanage encouraged Caroline to read from a young age. Caroline excelled at this and would read and imagine a big world, full of opportunities, which awaited her. Her imagination did not limit her to life in the orphanage. When she was old enough, Caroline had worked as a house help for a family and within a few months, the family decided to pay for her to attend a better school.
Caroline would attend school and then clean the family house in the afternoons and evenings. The family had lost their child under tragic circumstances and soon, Caroline became the child they’d not had and was showered with love. She never wanted to let them down. For they had taken in a stranger and made her their own. No. She would never let them down. She excelled through school, secured a place at university and graduated with a 1st class degree. Yes, she was never part of the “in” crowd at university but she focused on grades, internships, sports and voluntary work. She was what they call, a well rounded candidate and secured internships and finally, a graduate trainee role enabling her to travel overseas as part of the training programme including to the USA. Two years later, Caroline had met Charles, who was to become her husband. Despite the fact that she’d been born under sad circumstances, she never blamed anyone – not even her biological mother who’d given her up. For she knew, as her auntie at the orphanage had often told her, she should always put HOPE above helplessness and this is what she’d chosen to do, throughout her life.
When we look around us, we see people who either live in Hope or Helplessness/hopelessness. While we may not be able to control what happens to us or, the circumstances into which we were born, we can control our attitude and how we tackle the situation. We can choose to be bitter like Martha (even though her current frustrations were mostly of her own doing) or, we can choose to live like Caroline who despite her under-privileged upbringing, choose HOPE over helplessness.
Hope is not about holding a grudge over something that happened to you many years ago or blaming others for your present circumstances; it is about you accepting that you alone are responsible for your own destiny. Once you are an adult, it is not your parents, government or school’s responsibility to give you anything; it is solely your responsibility. So ask yourself this today: Are in you living in camp HOPE or will you continue to live in camp hopelessness? Only you can decide. To read more posts by Miriam, click HERE