Through the colorful, rustling leaves of the tall thin trees, the sound of laughter is abound; carried far into the forest on the cool breeze of a bright autumn day. A woman, with kind wrinkles, and a teenage girl, with long golden locks, sit together on an expansive porch looking through old treasures spread out on the table between them. It is the grandmother's house in the country, and the teenager is visiting for the week. Unbeknownst to them both... for the last time.
"Grandmother, what is this stone?" the girl says picking up a smooth, white rock with thin, black lines throughout.
The woman looks over the table at what her granddaughter is holding and smiles. "That, my dear, is hope."
A giggle escapes the girl as she turns it over in her hand, inspecting the stone for clues. "What do you mean it is hope?"
"Your grandfather gave this to me many years ago. As you know, he was in the war. We were both young... about your age. The day he left, he slipped this stone into the palm of my hand, kissed me sweet, and said, "this is my love, hold onto it until I am back in your arms". I held it every day and he returned to me a year later."
"Grandfather never talked about the war."
"No, my dear, he never did. But this was the hope that got me through that very long time apart from him. And after he came back to me safe, I continued to hold this stone. It has seen me through everything important in my life; given me the reminder of optimism. There is always a glimmer of hope in everything."
The teenage girl and her grandmother had a wonderful visit for the week. The grandmother had set the hope stone on the credenza by the front door after that afternoon. The girl would hold the stone and turn it over and over in her hand each time before she went outside. Two weeks after she kissed and hugged her grandmother goodbye at the end of the visit, her grandmother fell ill and passed away. When the teenager's mother, her grandmother's daughter, came to her room with the grandmother's little box of treasures... the girl wanted only - hope.
Many years later... the sun shines blindingly off of thousands of windows. Through the grey, silver and blue concrete jungle of skyscrapers that reach for the heavens, massive billboards and the low roar of traffic, horns honking, and humans congesting the asphalt down below, there is a lovely roof terrace. Atop a building that is only half as tall as the skyscrapers surrounding it, sits a woman and young girl enjoying the sunshine on a summer day.
"Grandmother, what is this?" says a sweet young girl with strawberry colored, bouncy curls.
The older woman, with mid-length golden locks, looks up from her jewelry box on the table between them and picks up a white stone with black lines throughout.
"That, my sweet, is hope."
"Oh.. hope," says the young girl looking intently at the smooth rock.
The woman smiles, reaches across the table, and places the stone in the palm of the young girl's hand.
"Come sit with me my dear, I have a story to tell you. It is all about your great-grandmother and grandfather, and... hope."
Hope can be a double edged sword... but I personally choose to believe in the positive side of it.
You can have so much hope, that you give it to some people who do not deserve your energy and belief in them. They are not ready to do the things they say and you wind up wasting your precious time.
But, hope can also be the magical push to keep you moving forward, to achieve your dreams.
Hope. The little word with infinite possibilities.