It’s been a rough, rocky, rambunctious ride of a year. It doesn’t really matter what I’m going through —the flu, loss of a family member, financial woes or a stubbed toe— I am almost always tempted to give up on life all together.
I would think I was a sissy for all my wanting to give up on everything and everyone, except that after 34 years of being alive I’ve realized I rarely do give up. (Rarely, not ever).
But I always want to.
The other day, my hubby said one of the things he appreciates about me is my courage. It was sweet, but tough to hear. Courage never feels like courage. It feels like knee-knocking, piss-in-your-pants, diaherra-inducing, headache-bringing, insta-sleep angst.
Well, that’s what it’s felt like to me.
The past 7 months have been awful. And by awful, I mean I have had to exercise a lot of courage. And by courage, I mean… well, you all ready know what courage does to me. I all ready told y’all a while back I took a break from blogging to focus on our creaky marriage. What I didn’t expect was that I get pulled through the ringer by therapy, and that our marital woes would highlight my particular bent towards evil. I didn’t realize how painful it would be to consider throwing my whole life away, or to even consider whether or not I deemed myself worthy of fighting for. I’ve been rummaging up old dirt, family secrets and abuse memories as I’ve written my memoir and I’ve cried hard. A lot. In short, I’ve been really sad y’all. Really, really, really sad.
A few weeks ago, I decided to follow through on a new tattoo idea I cooked up months ago, “always hope.” I got the tattoo following a day when I was most tempted to JUST GIVE UP ALL TOGETHER FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. I figured, how can one give up hope when one has “always hope” tattted on their left hand?
It made perfect sense to me.
For the past two weeks, I’ve explained to no less than 10 people why I got this particular tattoo in that particular location and each time I’ve felt…well, more hopeful. Talking about hope, it seems, brings hope. Mostly because everyone responds with something like, “that’s awesome! Your right, don’t give up!”And then I smile.
Then yesterday, the coolest thing happened. I was reading The Message version of the Bible, Psalms 131, and there it was!
“Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always.”
Contented sigh. There it was within a passage I love about how God encourages us to snuggle up contentedly by Him like a peaceful sleeping baby does with her Mama.
My little friendly reminder turned out to be Scripture, what I believe to be the very words of God. A quick google search revealed that the words “always hope,” is also recorded in the book of Job. (14: 1-3) Even though he’s talking about trees. No matter, it’s there!
For a tree there is always hope.
Chop it down and it still has a chance—
its roots can put out fresh sprouts.
Even if its roots are old and gnarled,
its stump long dormant,
At the first whiff of water it comes to life,
buds and grows like a sapling.
Cool, eh? =) I feel like a cut down tree.
I’d be amiss not to mention that during this time, I have been soooooooooooooooooooo loved, cherished, comforted and held by my relationship with God and with God’s people, my inner-inner circle. There have been miracles that have happened. Maybe miracles I wouldn’t have noticed if I weren’t at the bottom of the pit. God has spoken directly to me through others. Maybe words I wouldn’t have heard or received if I had been full of confidence. There has been unmistakeable peace given to me when there was no good reason to feel at peace.
In these ways, life has been very rich.
My life with Jesus is summed up by this famous phrase, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
So. I remain hopeful. Not yet healed, not yet A-OK, not yet happy…
How have you upheld the hard task of hope in your life?