Can Hope Be Undone?

I have a theoretical, rhetorical or possibly actual question.  Or maybe it’s a thought to ponder.

If someone did something for me that I appreciated:

A kind gesture.

Gave me hope or encouragement in some form.

Put light in to my world where all around me I only saw darkness.

And I reaped the rewards from that ‘action’ many years ago, or just last week, is the reward I received null and void because of new information?

Can the world,  in it’s angry righteousness, wish away the hope that I found?

If I, personally, do a kindness for you and you are made happy, or comfortable, or hopeful, or cheered, or feel less alone, can the benefit of that act be undone?

What if years after my kindness you found out I lied to you?    Does that take away a comfort I shared with you years ago?  Or, found out I lied to someone else or about something else that had nothing to do with the action shared with you.

Personally, for all of my faults, the one thing that would bother me most if I was to  now be less in your eyes is any knowledge that a goodness done for you in the past, now leaves you hollow.  Or that goodness past can be gone back to and made undone.  And have no value.

42 thoughts on “Can Hope Be Undone?

  1. Hope be undone ??? Now you lost me again. If hope can be undone … no, I don’t think so .. it’s the same as with the word, said is said … right or wrong. Hope undone ?? It depends on what kind of hope you are talking about .. we hope for many things and we can change our minds so often as we want. Or is’t the hope you find in God ???


    • Sorry Viveka I didn’t mean to be ‘cagey’ or secretive. I have been thinking about this Lance Armstrong stuff. I have been an admirer of Lance for many many years. I have never had cancer. But I have had set backs. And I know over the years there was a lot of “hope” that radiated out of Lance and his come back, and his powerful physical achievements. I have read so many things about “him” but what bothers me is that I am now reading comments from “people” who say the LiveStrong foundation did nothing for cancer research, or cancer patients, or for anyone other than Lance himself. I think of the many many patients, young or old, who received their diagnosis and saw “him” or his story (or anyone else who may have inspired them) and they built hope in to their recovery, in to their suffering through treatments, because of something they saw in him (or others). My post is not in reference to whether he did or did not dope, or whether anyone does or does not like him, I just know that there as “hope” for many because of him and others. And I wonder why anyone would want to even bring that up in discussion regarding the doping. I can easily imagine “one” young athlete being told he/she has cancer, and that young athlete walking out in to the world carrying that new diagnosis and seeing this image of hope, and believing in it.


      • Colleen, no the cent has falling down. Armstrong the biker … The thing is that he hasn’t done any more physical achievements than any other cancer patient or me … the options are very poor when you have been diagnosed with cancer, die or go through the treatment. So everybody chose the treatment and with that come the journey to hell.
        If somebody wants to make money of their journey is up to them, but if he doesn’t give anything back to the cancer research, I think it’s really shity – because if it hadn’t been for them … neither he or me would be here.
        I wouldn’t find hope in somebody experience – I put my hope into the doctors, hospital and treatments. My journey was very tough and rough – got radio therapy on the same time as chemo. I was sick, but not violent sick – until during my last 3 weeks. Didn’t know how sick I really was .. and that was a blessing. 5 days after the removal of my tumor they wanted me to start my treatments, but an infection came in the way.
        So if people find hope through his books, brilliant – but there is no cancer journey that is the same.


        • I feel so, so much for you, Viveka, regarding your journey. The fact you write such colourful, positive blogs despite. I think you’re truly wonderful, Viveka.


          • Noeleen, thank you so much – so are you – the path you’re on.
            Doing fantastical well – I have such great support from the hospitals and clinics that makes it so much easier to be positive – than fix things all on your own. I’m having a very positive soul, because I can’t be bothered with feeling sorry for myself – enough is enough. I get very easily tired on being a victim. Noeleen, I don’t go on with life – life will leave me behind I will never catch up with it again.


  2. I’m not sure that hope can be undone. I think, for that moment in time, hope would’ve served its purpose. And, if later, one comes to find out the hope was a lie, then you might feel deflated. But, it shouldn’t cancel out the original experience. You’ve got me stumped, Colleen. This one is a bit tricky??


    • Thank you Anka! I didn’t mean it to be tricky, well, maybe a little! 🙂 But I wanted to address (see my reply to Viveka) the idea that there was hope given (in this situation via Lance Armstrong) to many people. I believe that someone doing something for someone else, and that person receiving the gift of hope is not lessened by that person’s character flaw (or whatever someone else wants to call it) discovered at a later date.

      For all that is being reported I don’t think it should reflect on the hope that was instilled in many.

      And I guess I wanted to go a little deeper and more personal. Did I ever do a good deed, and later offend or hurt someone, so that what had once been considered good about me, no longer matters? Is it undone because of something unrelated?


  3. Wow…that is a powerful question. I guess it depends on the situation and the two people? You can’t un-ring a bell…so is there any value thinking about this situation? Don’t get me wrong…you know I love a good thought-provoking question…but I hope you aren’t beating yourself up about something!


    • Thanks Marsha. 😉 I don’t mind taking a punch at myself one in awhile. But this is not any thing “specific” to me. Though it does open me to some very good reflection (which I have been doing since I wrote it). I agree, you can’t unring a bell. And I couldn’t help but question why all of this stuff about Lance Armstrong has to affect the hope that was generated to others. I’m not commenting on the doping issues and the cycling issues…. etc….

      I have just been reading in the last week so many negative comments. Yes, the biking wins gave him opportunities to develop LiveStrong. But LiveStrong (and the hope he personally generated for others) is not about the biking. At all. It’s about that unsung heroic effort some newly diagnosed cancer patient is putting in to their recovery. And the hope they feel when they see others survive.


      • Goodness…I didn’t think about Lance Armstrong when I read your message. I should have for goodness sake! I didn’t see the interview and haven’t really listen to or read the messages since most people aren’t going to say anything but hateful, hurtful things. He had cancer, he created a terrific organization (the yellow LiveStrong bracelet alone is a POWERFUL tool known worldwide for the fight against cancer and has helped to raise who knows how much money)! Yes…he lied, he cheated, and now HE has to live with himself (and has been doing so for all these years. In some ways, you have to say he took the first steps to asking for forgiveness. If he is a religious person, he is moving in the right direction. To me, I wouldn’t want to leave this world carrying this burden. The haters will continue to be mean and forget the good he has done; the fair minded people who understand true forgiveness will do just that. In my own personal case, if Dr. Liar had said: I’m sorry, I made a mistake…my entire mindset would be different. Life changes, the rules change and living strong takes on new meaning. Thanks Colleen ~ again, a great post!


        • I have not watched the interview with Lance. I don’t know if I will. This all started in my head when I read someone’s words that LiveStrong did nothing for cancer patients. It was that simple. I thought, how many people got “something” from that? Encouragement? Hope? Comfort that they truly were not alone and people are trying to find cures? It bothered me that someone may have found goodness, in some form, through those works. And then to have others say that no, no, really nothing good was done.

          I can’t imagine how different your emotional well being would have been if another human being who inflicted such injury on you would have said “I’m sorry”. I think I understand how different that would have made your life, even though the physical outcome would have been no different. I believe, from reading you, that it would still have made a huge different in your well being.

          And that burden. Wow. I cannot imagine it. I read one article heading that stated Lance admits to being a bully. That bothers me greatly.

          My thoughts about ‘hope’ though, were really about the people, not him per se.

          Thank you for the comments and insight Marsha.


  4. Lots of good replies to your question. I think I agree with them all, especially the idea that it would depend on you — if you allow it to come undone. Perception is, for the most part, reality. Change that, you change your reality.


    • This is wonderful Robin. When I apply my questions to my own life maybe it will help be more diligent in my daily activities so that I don’t have to ever worry if my good deeds will go sour in the end.


  5. Some one once told me that no one can steal your blessing. Even if you find later that the circumstances were not what you had originally thought them to be it doesn’t change how you felt or how your life was improved through that action, discussion or moment.


  6. Not to be the gloomy one, but yes, I believe it can be undone, or at least lost. It can fly away, leaving you in a cloud of dust. It’s not really human nature to lose hope, however, so it usually transforms rather than unravels


    • BornByARiver, I read no gloomy in your comment. I don’t think there is an “answer” to my question. Or, rather, there are probably many many answers. In my original contemplation of this (as I played with it in my head and thoughts) I wondered if something that gave hope in the past, and the person who received that hope but may not even be in that place anymore…is the hope from the past …changed? Or diminished? Okay, even as I write this out I am very aware that I am not able to make my words reflect my thoughts. 🙂

      This will take even MORE contemplation! I appreciate your feedback. It’s the thinking about things and sharing our thoughts that I love about this. I have to go to work now so I have to leave you with this non formed, non completed thought…..


  7. Hmmm. Maybe betrayal would undo the act. I’m not sure. Great question. Then again, if a person were married, and out of love a child was born. Then, later, one of the parents betrayed the other and a divorce happened….would that love go away? Every time that parent would look into that child’s eyes, would they remember their former love for their former spouse? Brilliant question.


  8. Hope is a gift. Something to be treasured and not destroyed. It should be appreciated for how it was given freely at that time and not scrutinized for how it came to be.


  9. Boy oh boy, you sure do know how to make a person think. This one didn’t trigger a quick answer for me…something I will definitely be pondering all day! Thanks for giving me some good material to think about while I go do my ironing now!


    • Ironing. I actually like to iron. But I haven’t for probably 20 years. 🙂 I actually don’t mind NOT having to iron. I hope you are done with the ironing and have contemplated your way through to a smooth day. (get it? hahahahaha. I crack me up!)


  10. IMHO depending on a person to always be “good” once they’ve done a kind thing is like depending on sand not to shift. 🙂 If you can separate the good deed and how it affected you from the person (assuming that they’ve changed their spots) then you keep your heart safe(r).


    • I like this explanation. I have cajoled some friends of mine to have lunch with me tomorrow to discuss this very topic! I look forward to it because I know one of them will come ready with twists and turns to this contemplation to see where it leads us.


    • Ribbons!! I’ve been trying to get to your page!!! OMG, I thought you were gone. How come I can’t load your page any more? How ARE you?? I was talking to Anne Schilde about you recently, said I had wanted to connect & see how you are, but we can’t get on your page.

      If you want, would love to hear how you & Miss S are, & if the new place you moved to is working for you. Sincere best to you, N’n.


      • Noeleen, my paid subscription ran out and I couldn’t afford to renew it so my blog reverted to . That link will take you directly to my page. I haven’t been blogging at all since I lost my last job. Too busy with Miss S and job hunting, but I have a job now where there are lulls in the day so maybe I can blog some now. Trying to do anything at home that doesn’t include Miss S. is just an excercise in frustration so I don’t do it, especially if I get on the computer. 🙂


        • Thank you so, so much for the rundown.

          I never got a paid subscription, only free on WordPress. If it were to cost me, i’d go back to writing the book quietly alone, without feedback, in my room…. & no doubt chucking out the pages, thinking not good enough – like before!

          But no, paying for a blog doesn’t fit my budget either. Being paid for a blog would though! 🙂

          I understand the trying to do anything for yourself while little one is home. I only ever wrote when he was asleep… when not staring vacantly at the wall.

          So glad to hear you got another job. I bet it was difficult without, but damned good on you, jumping up & getting another.

          Bless you both, so glad to hear from you – & ‘see’ you round 🙂


  11. It definitely depends on the situation – I could write about this for hours, but basically, the hope that you received itself cannot be taken away, though your ability to grasp in in the future can be. It comes down to the individual though; we’ll all react to bad things in different ways depending on our personalities and our strengths.


    • Yes, this makes sense to me. Basically, I think that a hope, once experienced and “past” can’t be diminished. It may very well affect and change perceptions for now and future. But the past hope has been lived. Thank you Thomas.


  12. Hi Colleen. This is going to be difficult to say what I think, given you feel much in favour of Lance.

    First, I haven’t heard he hasn’t done anything for cancer patients. The media must be in quite the frenzy over there. It’s interesting how Viveka doesn’t get hope in someone’s story – only in the doctors etc.

    Anyway, on the cheat aspect: I think he’s overwhelmingly brave to come clean. I think that says a lot for how he has “come round” as a person, a human being. I support he should return the prize money, though not sure the sponsorship deals. I heard he said he knew he was going to win, just knew year upon year – and at that, I think what about those alongside him, training bravely BAREly – bare in the elements, bare in just their nutrition, energy & efforts. It is so, so wrong, what he did to the other competitors for 7 years in a row.

    I actually feel sorry for his son who supported him on Facebook. And how he lied again, & again, & again point blank “No, I never took banned substances… no, I wouldn’t do that” – I’m appalled that he could do that. It reminds me distinctly of how I felt when we were in Family Court and Chris easily, smoothly, readily told lies. Absolute lies. That he could do that, was capable of that : that chilled me. So Lance too, chills me; but is commendable that he has “come round” as a person.


    • Hi Noeleen! I still haven’t watched his interview with Oprah. I did like Lance, for so very long. I was so impressed by his comeback from cancer. I loved what he did physically. I am an admirer of anyone who makes a comeback, I love a “get better” story, I am in awe of people who go through hell and come out on the other side of it and LIVE. I absolutely love the human spirit of will power, determination and courage in the face of fear. And yes, I did believe him. I didn’t read the stories against him because it seemed so far fetched.

      I’m very glad he is telling some truths.

      But I’m very sad when I read that even he calls himself a bully. And his son…..

      How you compared him to Chris really made it even more “real”. The “chilling” feeling. I think that’s what I’m starting to feel.


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