IS HOPE A DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD?
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Hope and how it impacts on our lives. I intend to explore it over the next few weeks.
This first blog may seem contradictory and even trite, if you are grieving the loss of a loved one. My intention is not to hurt anyone or assume what they feel. All I ask is that you hold my hand and take this journey with me to A Place Called Hope.
All our journeys have a beginning and an end – birth to death, village to village, city to city, from work to home and home again. We travel on foot, on animals’ backs, in cars and trains, boats and planes, sometimes accompanied, too often alone. Through it all we carry our load, shoulder whatever burden we have to, physically and mentally.
We carry our newborn in our arms, close to our beating heart. We carry our loved one’s on our shoulders, in a coffin, or wrapped in linen.
Throughout our journey we meet many new people, experience joy and grief, celebrate birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, religious festivals – occasions relevant to our lives, our beliefs, our culture – the same and yet not the same.
We make friends, some lasting, some like a ship sailing away quietly and we watch it leave with mixed emotions.
We fall in love, make a commitment, get married, give birth and through the myriad realities of our lives, we continue to celebrate and take joy in special moments and share them with friends and family alike.
No matter where we are in the world, someone, somewhere is in our thoughts, in our hearts. How do we reach out and say – ‘I am here. I am thinking about you.’ Technology has made that easy, but receiving a letter or a card is heartwarming. As it stands proudly on the shelf it’s a daily reminder that you are in someone’s thoughts.
RAINBOW OF EMOTIONS
I feel privileged to have met so many wonderful people on my journey through life, especially during my time in Cape Town, people who could express their feelings, who wanted to reach out and help, to say what was in their heart. They came to me with their stories and I wrote personal verses for them, both in card and print form.
How do you translate someone else’s pain, loss, love, joy and hope, into a few short words? I dipped into a palette of words from the look in their eyes, the pain etched on their faces, the awe and wonder as they spoke about the people they loved. The rainbow of emotions they expressed through their stories inspired me and continue to do so. They are
forever imprinted on my mind, their mixed feelings of happiness and sadness, love lost, love regained, but most of all their faith and HOPE.
We often say that every story has a beginning, middle and end, but life’s plans for us don’t always work to that expected format.
We celebrate the birth of a child, not knowing that this amazing gift of life will perhaps be short-lived.
We celebrate our children’s graduations, unaware of the pitfalls that lie ahead, feeling their pain, feeling helpless.
We celebrate the commitment couples make to each other when they wed, also unaware of what lies ahead.
We celebrate the ‘big birthdays’ – the accumulation of years ending sooner than we think, sooner than we expect, and we feel shocked and broken.
Throughout it all, hope resonates, sometimes loudly, sometimes so quietly we can barely hear it.
Yes, all our journeys have a beginning and an end, journeys that we must travel with hope in our hearts no matter what God’s plan is, what the universal power has in store for us. Take this journey of hope with me today.
YOU ARE STILL WITH ME
“I wish I could borrow a little bit of hope from someone like a cup of sugar, and although my heart is broken into a thousand piercing shards I know what you would say, how you would tease me for being maudlin. That makes me smile. When I think about your smile I smile, then feel guilty for allowing it.
I want to scoop up your inert body and breathe life into it, even for a few more hours. I want to rub your cold limbs, see the colour seep back into your face, and your eyelids flutter open. I want to hear you say – ‘only kidding mum’.
I prayed for your recovery. I hoped for your recovery. I expected it. Now the plans I had for your future are no longer valid. They were only dreams of what could be, not dreams of what will be. I wish you were still with us, but no-one can take away the memories we created together, our story, no matter how short-lived. No-one can take that away.
Although I feel shocked and broken, I hold those thoughts fiercely in my clenched hands, the only remnants of hope I have left. Memories created with love and laughter, sometimes tears. I hold you in my heart forever. You are still with me.”
Sitting quietly on the sea-shore rocks
Watching the ebb and flow of the tide
Washing over the sand
And the vast canopy of the sky overhead
Reflected in the sea
Chasing away the shadows
And I know you are there
Sitting quietly on the sea-shore rocks
Watching the waves heave and froth
Onto the seashore
Scattering fronds of seaweed
On their journey
And overhead the deep-blue sky
Empties its heavy-laden clouds
In a deluge of raindrops
Washing and reviving all that I am
And I hold up my face
Our definition of hope is of something that’s positive, an expectation, and at times we become lost in that expectation. Grief is as much a gift to us as hope is.
Both grief and hope colour our journey. When we fall we instinctively know we can pick ourselves up and continue, no matter how painful, no matter how sad we feel. It may not be immediate, but the possibility is always there.
Hope is not lost, but for now allow yourself to grieve for in that grief comes healing and with it more hope.
Read my blog – You never walk alone!
Victor Frankl – Short video clip on HOPE!
I have written two novels available on Amazon