Tag Archives: Hope

The Only Cure For Despair

8 Jun

Every human is confronted with the same decisions: believe the dark thoughts or cast them out. And I am realizing that intersection faced multiple times a day is really what makes or breaks a life.

I am reminded again, you can have the whole world but lose your soul.

Money is an illusion. Adventure can be miserable. Traveling doesn’t bring you peace. Neither does having a beautiful, loving family.

The reality of human nature is this: nothing is ever enough.

We grasp at the stars with hands that can’t hold anything, it’s always just within our reach.

Happiness. Fame. Romantic love. Success. Amazing experiences.

They fade in color like anything left out in the sun too long.

We are the desert wanderers, watching miracles happen next to us and forgetting in a day, never arriving to the promise land we’re camped right outside of.

We are dust and we can’t get back to the ground fast enough.

Meaninglessness, meaninglessness.

If we’re honest, we all face the reality of the futility of it all.

Some of us ignore the pressing truth. We numb ourselves with pictures and noise, bury ourselves in stuff and other’s drama. We curb the appetite of despair just enough to get us to the next high.

Some of us fall completely into the darkness and let it engulf is. We give up all hope and decide to leave. The world is shocked for a moment, then keeping spinning.

But some of us. Some of us touch the light on the other side, grasp it like a rescue rope.

Some of us have tasted Love and know everything else is bitter. And know matter how often we forget, we have this Hope.

A Reason.

A Meaning.

Beyond the easily combustible stuff.

Beyond fickle emotions or the next best thing.

Beyond the broken parts of our mind telling us it’s not worth it.

Beyond this world that is slowly expiring.

And it’s not even some intangible thing we have to conjure up or repeat enough phrases or read enough or attend the right church or seminar.

IT is a actually HIM.

A whispered name that stands firm when all the walls around us are knocked down.

A nest, untouched in a hurricane.

The only real reason for carrying on.

Jesus.

So we moved forward, with Light on our faces and Hope in our hearts.

Knowing what the world needs.

Knowing what we need.

Advertisements

What the Water Does For My Words

19 May

I don’t know why I get to this place

away from the joy I used to know

almost afraid to count my blessings

nearly afraid to hope

it’s been a long road

towards home

wet and muddy

close to flooding

I usually feel something different in the rain

It’s always been my soul cleanse of choice

(and my cliche poem topic, too)

I’d stop and see

what the water does for my words

how it rinses the dust in my heart

and carries away old, dead thinking

now it’s just some kind of shivering, wet gibberish

trying to build a bridge

in the gap of thoughts

as water rushes in

I wish it were profound and real

but right now, it’s just me

empty and full again

washed and cold and waiting for the sun

stuck in-between the truth I know will set me free

and wishing for anywhere, anything else

all the potential in the world wrapped up in a feeling

fickle as spring weather in Texas

then I close my eyes and  I am a child

tracing raindrops with my finger as they race

down the outside of the car window

 I am going fast and it doesn’t matter where

I am alive

once again finding wonder

in puddle jumping

and the sensation

of the rain on my skin

RS47U87JM0

Tiny Lights, Tea Cups and Snowflakes

27 Dec

The other night I went to a Chinese Lantern Festival in Dallas. I walked through scenes that looked like something out of Alice and Wonderland or Willy Wonka. Beautiful lit-up sculptures looked ordinary until you got closer and realized they were made of out teacups or thousands of tiny vials filled with colored water.

Chinese Dragon made out of China

Things look different when they are filled with light. 

At 2 am Christmas day I cried tears of frustration during a rainstorm while sitting in my car in the middle of the road on a hill about a mile from my apartment, after in my busyness of last minute christmassy to-do’s, I  forgot to get gas. Then I laughed for awhile, because what else can you do while waiting there helplessly for your rescuer?

Stranded.

Later in the morning I cried again in the shower after hearing my families voices on the phone, water running over my head, mixing with my tears making them obsolete.  And I thought on how I bury my emotions, how I talk myself out of missing people, how I think I can make it alone.

“Sometimes you need to let people take care of you,”

A wise, close friend spoke, a simple statement in the context of a simple conversation, but it hit my chest and exploded in my heart.

Sometimes you need to let other’s light illuminate your own dark places. 

And I drove on Christmas day through rain, thinking melancholy thoughts, trying to allow joy in, wondering about the hows and whens of unforeseen days. Everything outside was soaked and shivering, grey and cold.

And I almost stopped breathing as I exited off the treacherous highway to a familiar road, the closest thing to a consistent home I have had in my inconsistent life the past few years. In a moment of unexpected Christmas magic, raindrops turned to white flakes, as if by exiting I had entered some secret portal into a giant snow globe. The white stuck to the ground, cleansing the surroundings and allowing hope to barrel into my heart, like a child flying down a hill on a sled.

I let the day unwrap before me, a gift of exquisite design in the form of familiar faces, breaking crescent rolls, warm and smooth choclate-y drinks, hugs, unexpected laughter and kind words.

I allowed my mind to dwell on these moments, to shove out the age-old worries and fears, anxiousness about life’s timing.

From now all your troubles will be out of sight. 

And I appreciate that Christmas is at the end of the year, because it is, in a way I understand more and more, a wrapping up of a year of bounty, a celebration of light and color, a glimpse of hope for the coming year.

We all know the story behind it like we know the over-sung tunes, but how this story of grace unfolds looks differently.

Sometimes it looks like thousands of ordinary household dishes, sculpted carefully together and lit up with lights to make something extraordinary.

Sometimes it looks like waiting in the pouring rain at 2 am and realizing yet again I am helpless on my own.

Sometimes it looks like pure white covering a barren ground,

or one tiny twinkling light, a part of a strand of a thousand, overcoming the darkness.

As She Grapsed For Those Words

6 Aug

how do you make the world good?

she asked rhetorically, with a hint of cynicism
after all, she had seen her fair share of badness
death and decaying hope
overwhelming sorrow drenched her sheets
until she rung them out with her frail hands

squeezing droplets
cementing in her consciousness
never to let the world drop her flat on her back again

this time, I’ll fight back

she promised herself and the world around her
including those she loved
until they became her enemy just like the rest

hurt for hurt became
hate for hate

intimidation for intimidation became
kill or be killed

fear folded over into fear
until it covered and suffocated and blocked out all the light

How do I make myself good?

the question barely reached her for the force
she spent pushing it aside
violently destroying herself inside

battered and numbed over
forgetting the soft, rounded edges of hope
not daring to let it show
for the pain it ensued

then a voice, a face, taking the shape of a child
spoken in some other tongue

some language spoken gently to her former self
before she left civilian life to fight

vaguely making out a few words
she heard whispers of long-ago victory

of something resembling peace,

no– defining it

maybe even love

yes, definitely love

as she grasped those words with a strength from outside of her
she consumed them, starving

it was that or death, she decided

then slowly, slowly

those words began to become her reality

how do you make the world good?

believe that beneath all of this,
it is.

 

How To Remember Well- Thoughts on 9-11 & Fear Vs. Hope

11 Sep


Ten years ago I sat in Junior English class and heard that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. To be honest, I vaguely knew what the World Trade Center was. At sixteen, I wasn’t really into New York architecture. I knew about the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building, but that was about it.  My world was all about the here and now, the drama of every day life. I lived in fear, but that fear was that I wasn’t as pretty as the girls in my new school, that I would never be good enough, that I was still too awkward and shy. I didn’t fear terrorists, I feared I would end up alone, that I would never accomplish my dream of being a writer.

Tragedy has a way of changing the priorities of our fears.

We gathered in the history room of my small Christian private school and watched in terror as the events unfolded. I remember feeling sorry for my History teacher, a darling woman who was the most patriotic person I knew. I watched tears openly flow down her face, her eyes red with shock. I don’t think I cried, I was too numb. Although New York was less then 300 miles away, it felt like a different planet, and seeing explosions on the TV seemed like good special effects in a summer blockbuster.

Fear has a way of causing us to live in denial and hope to God that reality isn’t what it seems.

Ten years later, and we’ve finally found the man believed to be solely behind these attacks. While it would seem that would alleviate our fear, it just doesn’t seem to have let up any.

Many say our threat of terrorism is just as strong, or worse. Even if the threat was gone, there will always be something else to fear.

Fear has a way of multiplying like a cancer and taking over. It doesn’t matter what form it takes, it is all destructive.

We fear unemployment, the economy crashing, government control, everything we know and love in this country ceasing to be.

We long for some political savior to ride in on his white horse and rescue us from our nightmares.

But this will never be.

As this peculiar group who claims faith in God as their way of life, we have another fear- the devil.

We haven’t met him, necessarily, but we’ve seen his attempt to mess with our “God-fearing” nation.

We fear evil taking over our country more then anything.

We fear our morals being pushed aside and “secularization” becoming the norm.

So we do what any Jesus-loving patriot would do- we fight it.

We picket. We protest. We preach against it. We speak against it. We try to pinpoint what went wrong, to find a source to blame.

And all the while fear breeds, takes over our consciousness, becomes our drug of choice.

Fear leads to more fear. Blame leads to more Blame. Hate leads to more hate.

Whether fear of Al-Qaeda, or conservatives fearing liberals pushing their “godless agenda,” it always leads to bondage and hate.

“There is no fear in love, perfect love cast out all fear.” (1 John 4:18)

 

The good news is: we don’t have to live like this.

(Breathe deep sigh of relief)

Whoever you blame for the state of our country, know that blame will always lead to bitterness, and bitterness will always lead to cynicism and the death of joy.

Even as I am writing this, I become face to face with my own hypocrisy because my own blame points to The Church. I get angry at our reputation to instill fear and hopelessness while we should be the last group on the earth to do so, yet I cannot allow this the lead to bitterness.

(I am part of the problem.)

Every fatal word spoken, every anti-people statement, ever finger pointed in blame, is all part of the problem.

Ten years later, I want to remember the sacrifice made by the heroes who responded immediately to the tragedy in New York, those who daily sacrifice in order to keep us safe, I want to honor those 3,000 who died. Yet, I completely miss the point if I let that negate remembering the sacrifice made by Jesus in order that we may walk in peace, freedom, love and LIFE.

The other night I went to a comedy show. My boyfriend made fun of me, because out of all the hilarious things Michael Jr. said, the thing that stuck with was the one serious thing he said. He shared how his goal in comedy used to be to get people to laugh. It is a normal goal to have as a comedian, and you wouldn’t think of it as selfish until you realized that the reason he wanted people to laugh was to validate his career. At a popular club in Los Angeles, he saw a homeless man hanging out outside and something in him shifted.

It was then he realized, God didn’t want him to get people to laugh, but to give them a reason to laugh.

As People of Hope, it is not our job to get people to change, to believe, to try to be like Jesus. It is simply our job to live love and that will give them a reason to laugh. To hope. To love.

I believe that the best way to honor this day is cut out the nay-saying and begin to speak words of hope over our world.

Our country.
Our church.
Our family.
Our neighbors.
Ourselves.

In order to speak hope, we must first open our eyes to see it- everywhere, all around us.

Jesus, redeeming the world. We are secure. Our future is certain. The war has been won.
For every judgmental blanket statement of blame made over a particular party, religion, or people group, let us be the ones who point out the loving individuals who break that break the stereotypes.

For every eye wide with fear after turning off the evening news, let us be the ones who soothe bristly souls with words of comfort and hope as Jesus did.

For every finger pointed in blame, every word written that stirs the need for revenge, let us be the ones who peacefully disarm, hand out grace like it’s bread for the starving, and live unconditional love until revenge loses its appeal.

This is how we remember well.

%d bloggers like this: