Friday, November 15, 2013

How to become hopeful

Hope starts small. 

Like a thin winged bird unfurling from its nest for the first time.

I’m learning there is some kind of secret in this brokenness, something sacred to follow winding down the cave walls towards a halo in the distance.

Something to be learned here. About life. About myself.

In the breathing in and letting go. In the exhale.

There is no short cut to happiness.

You have to wake up.

You have to do something every day that makes you happy. 

And perhaps scares you.

Trying out that new trail on your own. Going to a dance class. Calling a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Beginning the words of that book.

Writing someone a loving note even though they might not return it. 

Praying in that one spot of sunlight.
Choosing to have faith today instead of despair.
Forcing yourself to go outside and breathe in fresh air.


Letting yourself believe in goodness again.

And eventually, one day you realize you are more happy then sad, and there is still a big wide world to be lived out there, whether or not you have the thing you so desperately want. 

Today in San Francisco there is a little 5 year old boy who has been fighting leukemia since he was 20 months old. He is finally in remission and his dream was to become Batman for a day. So through MakeAWish foundation, the city of San Francisco has turned itself into Gotham, and this little boy will live out his dream of rescuing a damsel in distress. Over 12,000 people volunteered to help out.

Perhaps that hope that he would someday wear a cape costume is what kept him alive, perhaps it was the faith of his parents that he would recover.

I know it cost them, to believe, in the face of such raw truth as their little son’s hair falling out.

What this says to me is we want to hope.

We want to fight against that dark wave that meets us in the morning with the reality of our circumstance. 

We want to believe in goodness. And we can.

We want to believe dreams do come true.

And they do.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

When grieving is the only way through

When I hold the baby and realize that it isn’t mine and I am not sure I will ever clasp feet that tiny in my hands, there is a small part of me that wants to walk to a building’s edge and simply step off and feel the fluttering of air before nothing else.

It feels so similar, so close to another time when I lost everything and it is the familiarity that frightens me because it was a dream that died, never realized.

Sometimes I feel what others might call me crazy for, these thoughts that tumble over each other so loud that it’s hard to hear anything else.

Memory doesn’t need the right circumstance.

Memory is wanton with her pictures and her moods and all that ancient fear piles high, like dusty remnants of grey children’s shoes at the holocaust museum, signaling a warning. 

It’s hard not to believe that old lie that sounds like truth:

you will never get what you want. 

This bloodthirsty language that never seems satisfied.

This one red line from another negative pregnancy test is blurring.

The longing doesn't seem worth it because while you might know God is good, there have been times when He has seemed unbelievably cruel. There are moments when I don’t know how to hold both equally in my hands.

I don’t know how to live with hope, leaning bravely into that bright light, while all this world threatens to drag me back into darkness, where the sorrow of so many unmet dreams lie waiting to lay hold of me.

What else will I be asked to lose, what else must be sacrificed, what else must be learned or taught and what will make Him salvage me from all this wreckage?

Where does the hope go? Where does it find breath to live when everything dies inside me?

This grief, it isolates.

Who can understand the fury of a thousand nights shrouded in darkness which fill every space where there once used to beat a heart. 

Who can absorb all that emotion, and anger, and pain that wails and howls in a stormy embrace. Who can live through my despair? They will be crushed under the heaviness of it. I absorb this lonely silence until I can’t stand it anymore.

There are some deaths that cannot be explained away. 

There is only the weeping, and the clutching for the answers that may never come. There is only emptying myself out, telling God about all this war inside me, hoping eventually it will carve out some still space for joy to live.

I go walking out into the fall’s yellow leaves, flaring their last color. I try to remember there is a sliver of peace in the world, if I can just fight to grasp it.

It is such a slippery dance, this holding on and this letting go, this rhythm of every day surrender that I have no control.

I walk past a wooden fence with magnetic poetry art the neighbors have left out with permission to move, and in the midst of all this mundane, there are all these words making music:

feed mystery
expect nothing
find the truth
possible on earth…

fantastic miracles.

The Creator of all this beauty still knows what I need.

Everywhere the trees are spilling their leaves making way for some new dream. 

I pick up one leaf and let it fall to the ground, feeling vulnerable, feeling found.