Bits and Bites on Hope and Gratitude

Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

On Hope and Gratitude

Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.  (Christopher Reeve)

By Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair
True North Perspective

Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more

Image: Detail of photo of Alberte Villeuneuve-Sinclair

I was asked some interesting questions lately, questions that led me to ponder the answers and to review some facts about my life. The question that set off a flurry of questions was asked at a breakfast last week. I was showing my novels to a group and a lady asked, “What prompted you to start writing?”

  Image: Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair, for whom hope springs eternal. Photo provided by the author.
  The author today, more convinced than ever that, "Hope springs eternal in the human breast."

Although writing has always been a part of my life because I love words, I had never thought of writing anything significant. I was very proud of a poem of mine that had been published in our high school year book. But what made me decide to write a novel was the need to free myself from the hurt and the betrayal of a marriage gone wrong. Seven years after my first husband’s suicide, I had learned of yet another painful betrayal, one that left me reeling with anger. I certainly didn’t want to live the rest of my life with this heavy burden so I decided to write Le jardin négligé/The Neglected Garden. At first, I just couldn’t get past the first three chapters; it was too painful. One day, I switched over to a wonderful journey, going through my first-trip-to-Barbados photo album. I had been so grateful for that opportunity that I decided to integrate it in my novel and the story flowed like the pristine waters of a mountain stream.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”

Image: Photo of Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair, starting life over at age 30. Photo provided by the author.  
The author, starting life over at age 30 and practicing gratefulness.  

I was able to leave the past behind, let go of the pain, forget about the abuse, the lies, the control. I was able to fly higher and reach for the sky. And indeed life responded by giving me an award for that first novel.

Another question I was asked was, “What is your favourite passage from that book?” Of course, there are several but one of my favourites is this one:

“The sun was already setting. Golden rays of sunlight pierced through the early evening clouds and dappled splendid hues unto the dancing Carribean waters. Anne hurriedly took off her sandals and thrilled to the feeling of walking barefoot on the warm sands of the deserted beach. She enjoyed its coarse, granular texture of countless billions of tiny crushed coral particles mixed with sand. She preferred this type of beach to the fine powdery white ones. Their polished appearance lacked the character and history of this one. Anne perused the waters that lapped at her feet and felt revived. A strange new consciousness of opposing forces emerged within her: that of her own vulnerability and her inner strength combined.”

It is so important to be able to look at hardships as stepping stones to something better. And of course, nature is always therapeutic. I really enjoyed this little piece of advice: “Learn a lesson from your dog. No matter what life throws at you, shake it off like a dog shakes off water after a swim and go on your way.” Isn’t that the truth?


Open your mind to the possibilities life has to offer. A dear friend sent me the video of Patrick Hughes, a young man who didn’t let his disabilities stop him. I had seen the video before but once more I was moved to tears by his story. It reaffirmed my belief in miracles and I’m very aware that they happen when you open your mind to miraculous possibilities.

At the beginning of June, I will be presenting my conference “Accroche-toi à ton espoir” (Hold on to your Hope) in Rockland. I am grateful for that privilege and I am looking forward to reconnecting with some people from my childhood days as I grew up in that area. I have come a long way and hope to inspire people to be more grateful and to hope for the best because, “You’ve got to have hope. Without hope life is meaningless. Without hope life is meaning less and less.” (Unknown)

You have more strength within you than you know. Put it to good use. Share it with others and be grateful.

Blessings to all! Looking forward!

P.S. You can find details of my June presentation on the Canaan Connexion website.