Hopeful and fearful expectations
A new year, a new job, a new baby; the beginning of a new relationship, a book, a course of study-eagerly we turn to each new event with expectant hope. Untried, unsullied, it holds the promise of meeting some need as yet unmet, the fulfilment of desires as yet unfulfilled, the ideal we have never given up searching for. Unless, of course, past disillusionment has blunted our capacity for hope, made us fearful of risking disappointment yet again. But, however hopeful our anticipation, we also harbour fears about the future. ‘Aller Anfang ist schwer’ (every beginning is hard) says the wise German proverb, pointing to the uncertainty and doubts which tend to beset us. Will the new job be a failure, the course worthless, the new year bring disease and death, the journey end in disaster, the new baby be a monster? And in a less extreme vein: will they bring the same frustrations and difficulties that we have encountered before and had hoped to escape from? It is of the nature of beginning that the path ahead is unknown, leaving us poised as we enter upon it between wondrous excitement and anxious dread.