A few months ago my friend told me how her sister was having issues with infertility – issues that it sounded similar to my experience. Then, last week, she texted to tell me that her sister is pregnant. She wanted me to know in advance since I will see her soon – she didn’t want me to be caught off guard in the moment. I am grateful that she thought of that – that she told me – that she was aware of what I need.
Initially I was happy for her sister. Then I started to wonder…maybe there is still hope. Maybe it’s possible for me too. Then I remembered what the doctors said. I remembered them saying, “I’m sorry.” I remembered that it’s not very likely to happen at all.
In that moment of remembering, I wished for no hope. No hope would be easier. No hope would remove the possibilities and wonderings and maybes. No hope would remove all the pain and suffering. Without hope I wouldn’t think, what if.
But then, I read my daily blessing from Jan Richardson…Blessing of Hope:
So may we know
that is not just
but for this day –
in this moment
that opens to us:
hope not made
but of substance,
hope made of sinew
hope that has breath
and a beating heart,
hope that will not
and be polite,
hope that knows
how to holler
when it is called for,
hope that know
how to sing
when there seems
hope that raises us
from the dead –
but this day,
I want that kind of hope. Hope not made of wishes…hope that raises me from the dead again and again and again.
And then, I heard Sandra McCracken sing: “I will set my hope / in your love, O Lord / and your faithfulness will prove / You are steadfast, steadfast.”
That’s a good place to set hope – not in wishes or experiences or people or what may be – but in God, in love, in faithfulness.
And then, I saw this:
A few weeks ago, when they were smaller, I sent a text to my brother, the flower farmer. I was worried. Maybe I didn’t plant them deep enough? Maybe I put them in the wrong spot? Why are they coming up now? Don’t they know winter’s not over yet? Don’t they know they may not make it if they come up too early?
Here they are, precious little flowers, trying to offer me some hope and I just shame them for doing what they do.
And then I start to see the sun coming up sooner in the morning and staying longer in the evening. And then I hear the birds singing when I get in my car in the morning.
There’s hope. I’m seeing it and feeling it. It’s just not the hope I had in mind. I need to reframe what hope looks like….
Hope for a long, loving, strong marriage.
Hope for friends who meet me where I am, and hope that I meet them where they are.
Hope for dark winter nights and long summer days.
Hope for spring flowers and fall leaves.
Hope for our nieces and nephews to be confident, loving human beings.
Hope that when they encounter tough times, they know who to call.
Hope for the mysteries to unfold at the right time and place.
Hope for a broken world to find Love.
These aren’t wishes. These are hopes of substance made of muscle and bone, with a living beating heart – mine. I don’t want to live without hope. Wishes and dreams? Some days I could do without those. But hope? No, that’s something I don’t want to let go of. I want to hold on to the hope that the light will come again after the darkness. I want to hold on to the hope that life comes from death. I want to hold on to the hope that love is all around.