Up ahead, through the forest, behind the mist, and beyond the darkness… is the future.
It is very much in the province of optimism to believe that whatever comes along, it will come with opportunity. It’s as natural to rely on that certainty as it is to trust that when we draw breath there will be air to fill our lungs.
We count on opportunity, otherwise we would have no reason to live. And yet…
I love the word “yet”. It is utterly aromatic with possibility. It can turn a conversation in any number of directions.
The simple use of it twists the intent of a commonplace remark toward the dark abode of disappointment or the luminous realm of noble intent. There is no tedious middle ground with “yet”. It’s a conversation turner.
Literally taken, it can mean so far, despite, up to now, eventually, or in time. While it has been employed with negative connotations, my favorite use of the word “yet” represents an optimistic outlook:
“He wrecked his car, and yet he walked away without a scratch.” Or “Healing is a matter of time, yet it can also be a matter of opportunity.”
“Yet” is no mere literary device — it is the magical moment when steel meets flint and a single microscopic spark ignites a conflagration. It introduces a turn of fortune or lends a positive spin to any situation. There’s a promise of emotion built into it. Grammatically speaking, I can think of no single syllable brimming with more promise and more hope to fuel the drama of our imaginations, which are always inspired by challenge.
Were it not for our challenges, there would be no opportunity for us to overcome them. Exceptional innovations have sprouted from the nastiest of difficulties. To me the word “yet” will always represent opportunity — the door still unopened, the adventure not quite begun.
In its best usage it can be the sunny signpost on the path to everything hopeful.
The fine Russian novelist Boris Pasternak touched on the subject most eloquently — “When a great moment knocks on the door of your life, it is often no louder than the beating of your heart, yet it is very easy to miss it.”
Too many times have I reacted to that heartbeat of opportunity with trepidation. I try to remind myself that every uplifting consequence in my life blossomed from a decision to go for love instead of fear. Fear is the scoundrel here. Always will be. How much in my life have I missed out on simply because of the fear of missing out?
“Yet” is the briefest of adverbs. A very small word. There is real power, yearning, and magic it its grasp when utilized by a master raconteur or writer.
Without the shining optimism and promise of expectation this little word adds to my work, I think it would be an effortless thing to drift into despair.
And yet, …