I’m still slowly moving into the current of hope. Trusting my heart again to the one who gives us this gift.
And hope truly is a gift.
I received a gift of #secretmessages from a beloved friend this week. Inspirational words and phrases. Among the messages was a page from a dictionary full of definitions of the word hope.
My heart soared as I read the words. Finding breathing space in the small print and yellowing paper.
One of the definitions is an inlet, a small haven.
I paused when I read these words.
All I could think of is that hope is a place of rest. A respite. A safe place.
I’ll be the first to testify that hope doesn’t always or rarely feels like a safe place. Hope often feels like an unstable place. A place of uncertainty.
But as I mentioned above, hope is a gift from God. He has made a way that we can hope. That we can dream. We don’t have to live our lives in despair for what is to come.
He has created it to be a haven for us to come into.
I’m choosing to look at hope in this way. As a place of refuge. A place that I can dream and wish and have an expectation for my future.
Late Summer/Early Autumn 1996
I stood there in the dark, my room partially illuminated by the lamp by bed – a futon with a green mattress. My desk across from me with my typewriter and miscellaneous junk.
I looked at the couple pills in my left hand and the bottle in my right, contemplating my future.
A few months prior…
I’d applied to work at a day care facility at the beginning of 1996. They were willing to intrust into my hands a class of three year olds that I would create lesson plans for and teach.
I worked my way through finger printing, back ground check, and Tuberculosis testing. I took it with great ease when my TB test registered just shy of being positive. They said I was cleared, but I needed to come back in six months to be retested.
I wound my way through the rest of spring and early summer. Snow storms, loading grade school children on and off the school busses, and teaching colors / shapes / numbers to a class of three year olds that had stolen my heart.
I soon found myself back at the county clinic getting a repeat TB test. Within a few minutes the results were obvious as a giant welt formed on my arm.
I remember a rush of the unknown sweeping over me those next couple weeks. Fears of what might or would happen. Isolation. Being torn away from my friends. I remember waiting for an chest x-ray and being relieved when the results returned that the illness was inactive. I only had a positive skin test.
I had to go on medication. Horrible medication. For the first several weeks I had to have blood work done to insure my liver was not getting damaged. I gained weight – lots of weight. My already acne prone skin broke out even worse. And I fought depression like I never had previously.
Fast forward back to late Summer/early Autumn 1996
This wasn’t the first time I’d thought about ending it all, and it wouldn’t be the last; but it was the closest and realest I’ve ever actually come.
I remember standing there in my room looking at the few in one hand and the many in the other. I remember thinking, “I could just take all these pills and be done with it.” I remember shuddering back to reality and quickly putting the lid on the bottle and taking the couple Ibuprofen for my headache.
They say that suicide is a cowardly act, and in part I agree. But I’ve looked down that barrel and know with great intimacy how much it feels that sweet release will come if you were just separated from life.
It’s been just over 15 years since that night. I still battle with how much easier everyone else’s life would be if I wasn’t a part of it; but thankfully I’ve never found myself in the place I was that night.
It seems over the last few weeks random memories from my childhood have risen to the surface amongst the grownup things that are at my mind’s brim, like Excel formulas and meal planning.
We lived on a dirt road. When I say dirt, I mean dirt that flew everywhere and had to be graded. We were towards the bottom of a hill. At the top of the hill lived Helen. What I remember most about Helen was her chastising me once when I wiped the excess butter off the knife on the edge of the butter tub. She also taught me how to vacuum – in that you keep going over the same spot until you can no longer hear particles being sucked up.
We lived on a triangular quarter acre that was somewhat dense with Pine Trees, Junipers, & Manzanita Bushes. I remember I had a blue plastic kite that I believe had Tony the Tiger on it. I have a vague memory of running up the hill, kite string in my hand trying to get the kite to fly.
This is one of those memories that’s surfaced.
My childhood was good while concurrently being not good. I’m learning in my approach to “middle age” that a lot of what went on when I was a child, is affecting who I am as an adult. I never really did take care of the issues that made being a child as pleasant as being run over by a steamroller. My circumstances were simply changed, and I moved on with life. Never thinking that 20 some years down the road I’d see their effect in my relationships. I know one day I’m going to have to deal with the skeletons in my past. I know this. And I’m searching for the place when I’m okay with dredging it up.
But I want to share my story with you. It won’t happen all at once. It may not even fully come out in the next year, but I figure if I share little portions here and there as I’m ready to put it on the table – eventually it will all come out. And I won’t have to be afraid of it any more.
Tomorrow I will share one piece of my story. It doesn’t occur when I was a child, I was 21. But it’s still part of my story.
It rained yesterday. Beautiful rain that splashed heavy against the concrete & the roads.
I love rainy days. I love cloudy days. I’m nearly convinced I could live in Seattle or somewhere it is overcast nearly every day and never tire of it. I’m certain living 15+ years in the “Valley of The Sun” has made me this way. Then again I think days like this were written into my soul.
While weekends never seem to last long enough, and Sunday night seems to come within a few breaths of leaving work on Friday I’m ever grateful for the 48+ hours.
This weekend was especially wonderful. Dinner with friends, cloudy days, textversation with my best friend. I’m reminded once again just how blessed I am.
And really, who isn’t? Count with me?
0130 Cloudy, rainy days
0131 Dinner & conversation with friends visiting from out of town
0132 Kindred spirit textversations (conversations via text)
0133 A slow week at work after being crazy, crazy busy the last few months
0134 Purple flowers
0135 Standing in my rain soaked driveway barefoot
0136 Chocolate Cherrios with sliced strawberries
0137 Used book stores
0138 Painted fingers & hands
0139 Faint rainbows
How was your weekend? Do anything fun?
This morning as I was getting ready for work, before dawn had really started to grace us with its presence, I could hear the melody of a bird singing. She didn’t fear the coming day or that the sun wasn’t going to rise.
While mercies are new every morning for many, mornings are a reminder that their circumstances haven’t changed. They’re still in a dead end job they hate, their adult child still won’t talk to them, their parent or spouse still hasn’t accepted they Lord, they’re still not living their dream.
If this is you today, I’m standing with you because I’ve been and some days are in your shoes. I’m praying that we all would have courage to take hope’s hand. Our grasp may be weak, it may be slippery from tears – but hope doesn’t mind.
Noise. Life. Clutter. They all seem to have been closing in tight around me lately. Breathing room feels distant and I find myself claustrophobic. I find myself irritable.
Yesterday afternoon I laid down for a nap and while the quantity of sleep one usually prefers with a nap didn’t come, I allowed myself to just lie there and rest in the ear plug manufactured silence. To fend of Chihuahuas’ decision that I should get up or at least pet them. I simply rested and allowed the quiet to settle around me.
And last night I found myself in my place of sanctuary. A place of refuge for my soul. To breathe in deep and re-align. Where the only sound was my hour glass transferring one moment to the next. Each piece of sand a gift.
120 A day spent with my husband
123 Being prayed for
124 1/2 day sick days
125 Knowing that it’s safe to hope
126 Pizza & wings & good conversation
127 Believing that one day we will cross our Jordan
128 Creating art
129 Proposals 11 years old
No one 20 years old or older was permitted to enter the Promise Land. This was the judgement from God against the Israelites because of their lack of obedience in God’s command to enter the land and have faith that God would defeat the nations that presided there.
40 additional years they made their way back through the Wilderness. Waiting.
I can’t help but wonder how many of the 18/19 year olds that were under God’s judgement because of their father’s lack of faith started counting the years until they would cross the Jordan and give a mighty, warrior’s cry as they fought for the land God had promised Abraham more than 600 years before.
These men who were now in their late 50’s held onto hope. They held onto faith in God’s mighty hand.
I know what it’s like to wait. To feel like you’ve been wandering in the Wilderness when it seems your “Promise Land” is just over the “next hill”. The wondering if you’ve lacked faith and that’s why you’re still here.
And how hope for the crossing of your own Jordan seems to waver.
I’m encouraged though by their resilience – how they held onto hope that God was indeed faithful to His promise.
The last week or so I’ve held onto hope with a fragile grasp. I’ve prayed through it and have had others praying with me. I’m encouraged however weak my grasp may be, to still trust.
The Israelites didn’t wander the Wilderness forever. I’m learning again that God is as faithful now as He was then. He desires us to have a future and a hope.
“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” – Hebrews 11:1
Have you seen this?
The live stream features a pair of Bald Eagles incubating three eggs. In the wild. The organization Raptor Resource Project has for a second year in a row, set up a webcam live streaming this amazing, historical event.
I’m fascinated by this. I’ll switch over to the tab just to see what’s going on. I’ve watched as cold, soft snow blanketed the nesting Eagle, and have on a couple occasions seen the eggs themselves.
As I watch I can’t help but think of Jesus’ words in Matthew to consider the birds of the air. These eagles lie in their nest and they just know what to do. They are provided for. Their bodies acclimate for the weather and for incubating the eggs.
They don’t worry. They don’t lose trust. They don’t lose hope.
I’m tucking this into my soul today. Clinging to the truth that God has never been out of control.
0110 Chocolate (because well….sometimes…this truly is a gift)
0111 Going back to the place he slipped a diamond ring on my finger
0112 Greek Fries
0113 A good night’s sleep
0114 Freshly laundered sheets
0115 Clinging to hope even when my grasp is fragile
0116 An art day
0117 Cloudy days
0119 Snail mail love
I have a request. Shawn and I are talking through some things and would appreciate your prayers. Please seek that we would have wisdom, discernment, and even a sign or two.
Prudence is a 30-something writer who lives in Arizona with her husband Shawn and their chihuahuas Lengua and Zeus. She writes her life, her experiences and her crawl back to hope. Eventually, she hopes to visit India – a place that’s captured her heart without ever stepping foot on the soil.