On the national scene, can we be done with the election already? I don’t want to choose between frontrunners known for duplicity and/or obnoxiousness. There is no box for “neither” but must we again reduce our options to the lesser of the two evils? I’m so over that scenario. And it’s only December. Eleven more months of this?
And even without the election, the polarization of friends and relatives on the topic(s) of terrorism/immigration and police brutality/bashing leaves little room for hope, says my inner cynic.
Internationally, more of the same as far as terrorism/immigration, with the added layer of third world horrors and needs and blatant disregard for the dignity of all humans, but particularly women and children.
Hope fades like a forgotten melody from a childhood lullaby.
In those quiet moments, the way I see life is recalibrated, my perspecticals are adjusted to a broader, no, a Higher view, and I find my footing on the path of hope once again. On Tuesday, the lamp light illuminated the devotional book I’ve been revisiting; this was the recommended verse:
fill you with all joy and peace in believing
so that by the power of the Holy Spirit
you may abound in hope.
It’s over the top, not just a splash of joy or a dash of hope sprinkled on my day like so much colored sugar on a Christmas cookie. More like a tin cup- or a big galvanized tub- balanced beneath our old fashioned pump, and water pouring from a hidden source, filling the tin cup with one mighty blast, running into the tub without pause or hesitation, overflowing on every side.
I paused and visualized those "over the top" words and I wanted to quench my longing thirst for hope,
to wash my soul clean of the grunge of this despairing world and stand refreshed, revived, refilled with hope…and overflowing too.
“So, today I need hope from the God of hope, (Source of hope, that’s You!) I want to believe in You, to trust You and be filled with all joy and peace (even today,) so that through the power of Your Holy Spirit - and none other! - I may abound in hope!
disconcerting how quickly I lose track of truth as the day unfolds (or unravels) around me. So, Tuesday I had scribbled this reminder at the top of my to-do list:
God of hope – Source. Trust Him. Abound in hope – from Holy Spirit.
And so my day was reset into hope mode.
-I stirred up brownies for the Live Nativity happening at the church in the evening (when they asked me to bring some cookies I was too…embarrassed to say, well I didn’t bake any yet…and I might not?! So, brownies.)
-I put clean laundry in its rightful place and supper in a slow cooker place.
-Someone needed eggs, so I went in search of the newest hiding place during which search 13 sheep discovered I had looped the gate chain without fastening it; they headed into the yard for “the greener grass.” I found the eggs (and the shells from the eggs the neighbor’s dog found before I did…) and redirected the sheep before heading off for a doctor visit.
-Via text, Oldest Extra Son was helping me figure out a major detail regarding a Christmas gift for Youngest Mystery.
-At the same time, I was helping a friend sort her way to a healthier new Christmas normal for her family and wishing, deeply, for the same thing for myself. Sigh. Sometimes it feels hopeless.
-My heart was grieving a private grief, an unexpected loss that caught me off guard. I tried to let go of it, but those tentacles wrapped around my heart and squeezed.
-My to-do list got left behind on the kitchen counter, along with the reminder to trust God.
Abounding in hope became a distant memory as the day wore on.
So this year I decided to just pre-plan the extravagance of buying a lot of gift wrap thus at least dealing with one level of stress. And if time allowed for repurposed gift wrap creativity, no problem. Then I'd be set for next year.
I was a woman on a mission, get the gift wrap and get out. I had pulled my cart from the queue and was maneuvering it into the aisle when I saw them from the corner of my eye, two elderly ladies paused before the cart tangle.
Their quality wool coats were decades old, and their silver hair looked freshly “done” beneath jaunty…hats?! Stout and sturdy hosiery clad legs ended in sensible black shoes, polished but not shined.
Both of them carried black “pocketbooks,” (I think they were the click shut type) and one leaned heavily on a quad cane.
The wheelchair cart was in their view, but not within their reach. I paused, and knew I needed to help them.
Even I had a little trouble wrestling the chair from its less than ideal spot, and then I noticed, beside it, the fancy power chair that I’ve always thought would be a blast to drive. I paused, then queried, “Are you sure you don’t want this one instead?”
Hmmm. I felt a flicker, a warm little flame of…something in my soul, but I didn’t have time to think more about it as we got her settled in the chair with her pocketbook and cane and coat arranged.
When they were ready to venture forth, I felt much lighter than when I’d rocketed through the door, and it didn’t matter that someone had taken my cart and I had to do battle to pull another one from the jumble. I started on my way again, when I heard her murmur, “Let me give you something.” She was fumbling in her purse.
Her eyes twinkled above her rosy cheeks as she stopped her rummaging and extended her hand toward me. “But you’ll take this won’t you,” I heard the hope in her voice. (Oh, that’s what I'd caught a glimmer of earlier, it was, hope!!)
The font was simple, the background unassuming, but the words imprinted there blew through my soul like fresh Wind, and fanned my flickering flame into full brightness.
Thank you, oh, this verse! I just read it this morning…thank you, thank you…so that by the power of the Holy Spirit I can abound in hope. And, I do!!”
I set out with my brownies and my camera and went in search of….well, more hope.
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
'Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees O hear the angels voices.
O night divine O night when Christ was born
O night divine, O night, O night divine.
my soul lays aside its weariness once more, and rejoices.
Hope flares bright, in the joy of this reminder,
this night when Christ was born to bring us hope.