I am a generally hopeful person — at least I think so. I manage to look at most situations and see potential, believe there is good, and imagine that each new opportunity is just around the corner. I do believe that is a blessing and that not everyone comes at it quite that way. The down side of what is sometimes called my “optimism” is a terrifying sensation when I cannot feel that optimism. Or as it should be called, the Loss of Hope. For me, hope is at the core of what makes me get up every single day and try to do something that is good and that matters in this world. It is hope that helps me manage through our start-up business, co-parenting with my ex-husband, raising 4 kids, and trying to become the woman that I want to be. When that hope wanes, my soul cries.
What is remarkable is the way in which that hope can be restored. Sometimes in the most unlikely of places.
Leo and I managed a quick stop in Nevada this weekend to visit my family. It had been too long since I made the time to see the people that I hold most dear. It is has been a tough year for my family with illness, and I felt drawn to make my way there this last weekend. And I am so pleased that I did — but for none of the usual reasons. Instead — on this trip I was reminded over and over that hope is alive and well.
My brother is a preacher for a church there — a small and growing community of Christians. So it is always a pleasure for me to attend one of his services and watch my big brother preach the word of God. That in itself shows what is really possible for anyone who makes a choice in their life — my brother lived a through some difficult times and emerged as a remarkable man with a purpose and a fire for God — and works every day with hope in his soul for his role in this world. He makes a difference to every one of the people that comes to that church. He brings them hope.
My oldest nephew was in a life-changing car crash several years ago — and lived. That is a miracle all by itself. He is a tremendous man who is now in a wheel chair with brain trauma that has changed everything for him. And he is living every day with spirit and kindness and a humor and wit that is unmatched. And when he laughs — the world laughs with him. He brings hope that regardless of your situation, and your physical limitations, this life is worth living and laughter unites us all.
My sister-in-law was recently diagnosed with MS — and is struggling with the disease. However, her smile still radiates the kind of love that I have seen in few people of this world. She is the kindest spirit and shares that with all those who enter her life. Her marriage to my brother was a beacon to me when I questioned the institution of marriage. They are a constant reminder that people who love each other understand how to love each other exactly as they are — and can still challenge each other to grow. That regardless of all that life hands you, finding a partner to live it with is the greatest gift you can receive. She brings me hope that love exists and marriage can be a shelter from the rest of the world.
Seeing my parents reminds me that I was raised by two amazing people…it wasn’t until later in life that I realized not everyone is blessed with parents like mine. My mom and dad believe in me — and love me unconditionally. I have found myself in some pretty awful situations and certainly made some questionable choices and yet, they look at me with love and support me and lift me up in the best and worst of times. They remind me that there is no greater gift to give your children than to love them and believe in them. They give me hope that I can be the mother that my children need.
We are a crazy eclectic bunch, my family — on very different paths, with dramatically different lives, different beliefs and different views of this world. Yet somehow, we are a hopeful bunch of folks just trying to make our way to whatever is next. And that gives me hope for us all.