The whirlpool was dragging me down, deeper further into the darkness of my own hopelessness. It seems to be only when I succumb to the inevitable pull of that tide, and let my body relax, and my mind be set free, that miraculously I begin to let go…and almost without realizing it, I’m pulled to the surface again.
I gasp for the freshness of air, my lungs burn to take in that first gulp of oxygen, and my mind screams out in silence…Am I still alive? How can I be, when it feels like I’ve been scalped, my body has been turned inside out, and my blood boils and then freezes solid simultaneously?
This is it I think… I cannot take it one second more. The overwhelming hurt in this life staggers my heart. It seems impossible that it could continue to beat in a steady bump bump..bump..bump..bump …..bump.
The suffering that I witness just in my own circle of life often feels too much to bare, and yet I am not unique in this. It’s all around us. Humans suffer…some by their own choices, and consequences, while others seem so innocent amongst the kaos of pain. It is an integral part of the human experience, although it is seldom embraced, even when it appears to be inevitable for each and every one of us to pass through the murky, turbulent waters of pain.
How much can the mind take before it collapses in on itself….and how do we deal? I pray…probably not nearly as much as I should, but when I’m choking on the massive lump that keeps creeping up my throat, and as the bile on my tongue threatens to make me expel my lunch…I think yet again…just breathe. Just in and out, one at a time….and wait for it…wait for …hope to come.
It does…if you just let it. It’s always there…in the background, waiting to be invited in, like a polite dinner guest… It waits for me to notice, that I have kept it out on the cold front porch, unheated in the winter cold. It does not mind, it is patient, and I can almost feel it smiling, and nodding at me through the frosty front door.
Sometimes it feels as if hope taunts me. It gets me to try and believe in a hopeless situation. I feel betrayed by hope sometimes. I feel as if it lets me down, and that bugs me. I can’t deny it. I feel disappointed by it, and yet at the same time I think, if not hope, then what?
Where do I go when all hope seems gone in a given situation? Do I just stop hoping, do I give into the despair, and just let nature take its course, or do I fight to find it again, do I attempt to find it fresh in the new fallen snow, do I dare to keep believing that even when it feels like life is caving in, and swallowing me up…..it is possible that it can be found again and again…often in the most unusual of places?
A frozen lake….icy cold, with flecks of new snow. A gaggle of geese,(not sure that’s what you call them,) watching them as they gather around the open water. They were hopeful that in this cold snap there would still be some lake water to swim in. I’m wondering if they discussed going south, but then they thought that they could stay in their beloved Colorado, and be rugged, and brave the mountains, and the windy plains, after all, they are Canadian geese, and they are nothing if not hardy albeit somewhat annoying birds!
Do animals have hope? I think that when I leave my house, and my beagles don’t get to join me, and I can hear them cry, and whine, as the garage door goes up…do they give up? Do they think..my Mum has gone away, and she is probably not coming back ever? Are they forlorn and hopeless, or do they have hope that they will see their mistress again?
I am inclined to think that they do have hope…its there in their soft brown eyes, in their gentle lashes, that close over their lids when they lay at your feet, and is so evident when you walk in the door, and they greet you with wagging tails, and jump, and dance all around you like they have just won the biggest lottery. It is an excellent feeling to be greeted with hope!…
I am reminded of the night before Bianca passed into the loving arms of Jesus, that my dear friends Susan and Mark and Jake came over. I have mentioned Jacob before, but it bears repeating. He is a remarkable 19 year old young man with cerebral palsy, who loves to listen to George Strait on his earbuds, and meows with utter bliss when he us submerged in his hot tub, humming away amongst the tall Colorado aspens.
He and Bianca were friends through no fault of their own. His Mum and I are soul sisters. We have shared much joy and sorrow together, and I know Jesus destined us to be friends long ago.
As Jake and Bianca sat side by side, wheelchair to wheelchair, Susan laid his gentle bigger hand over my daughters’, and she prayed the “morning time prayer” that she prays with Jacob each night.
It is the prayer that says, even if and when, they are separated by death that they will meet in heaven in their special place, and she will know him, and he will run to her, and they will embrace, and be fully known each to the other. I think this is one of the most poetically beautiful experiences I have been privileged to know….it is HOPE. It is pure and true, and it cannot be taken away…”Hope springs eternal.”
The mourning place here on earth will be transformed into the morning place of heaven. The most incredible HOPE for the world was born in a manger , and became hope for all mankind.
This week preceding Christmas I am reminded that the “Christ” that is in Christmas, is available to us all. He was born, and he was destined to die, to suffer for all of us..what great love, what hope….
I am humbled to be surrounded by those who suffer. This Christmas reminds me of many who are weak, and who have disease and illness flooding through their bodies. Their strength of spirit and faith during their suffering is monumentally encouraging to me. They are my heroes…..
To remain hopeful during the time when your health is ripped away from your being, when your heart heaves and quakes with every breath you take, and have incredible joy is what I call ” brutal hope.”
I have found that it is the only hope truly worth having. It can be found during the times when your are feeling the most hopeless in a given situation and I am wondering if it’s in the middle of hope and hopelessness, that a unique surrender to that, the fresh newness of something intangible transforming happens…
Hope eternal is reached. It cannot be taken away, because it lives and breathes in the baby of Jesus, and the Savior of Jesus, whose death on the cross at Calvary brought the best Hope possible.
As I contemplate what this season means to me….remembering is a vital part of my thought process. Times spent together with family, presents opened, exclamations of joy and surprise, friends who stop by, Christmas carols listened to, gratefulness to my Lord and Savior for my life, and yes for the suffering, the pain intermingled, with fullness of joy…..it brings me Hope…always…