November fell upon me fierce and swift. I've barely had a chance to breathe this fall and somehow Thanksgiving is this week. How did this happen? How have I missed out on most of the thrills of this season?
"Missed out" might be a tad extreme. After all, I've been busy living. Traveling. Toasting. Spending time with out of state friends. Drinking loads of tea and a bit of coffee. The flipside of this fall consisted of too many reasons to practice self-care.
Where is Hope in the midst of all that?
So no, life has not looked anything like what I might have expected the last 10 months. I didn't know what choosing Hope would mean, though I certainly hoped for certain outcomes. Yet here we are less than two months from a new year and those things haven't happened.
That is, they haven't happened concretely. I have no proof of these seedling dreams but that doesn't mean they haven't been planted. In fact, one of those dreams is being watered as we speak and while it's out of my hands for now, maybe it'll bloom into something.
If it doesn't come to pass, then I choose to keep moving forward. Dreams are worth dreaming even when they aren't realized. Perhaps I am not clever enough to imagine that which is better. Perhaps so much more awaits.
I yearn to be held
in the great hands of your heart-
oh let them take me now.
Into them I place these fragments, my life,
and you, God- spend them however you want. (Book of Hours, II, 2)
This is my hope. (Is this my hope?)
I wrote earlier this year I am both more hope-full and hope-less and this remains true. I believe in God's innate goodness; I struggle to believe in His goodness for my life. I keep trying. This is the yin and yang of Hope in my life. Two steps forward, three steps back and on and on it goes.
These scenes paint my days, some in darker hues, some brighter than others. I am overwhelmed by stimulus, craving a port in the storm. I admit I am not handling it well.
A loved one dies too soon. Long-awaited plans fall through. A friend announces her pregnancy. The phone rings and half the time I can't answer it. The flickers of community die out. Thanksgiving plans remained elusive until yesterday. I haven't made it to church since I've been back in town.
Friends who have already been married and divorced announce their engagements and post pictures of their second chance weddings. It's been almost a year since my last official date and the interim pseudo-dates haven't led anywhere. My unpredictable schedule allows little room for more of a chance.
Friend after friend announces agent contracts and publishing deals. This one didn't even have to write a query letter and that one got into a bidding war. And oh my, I'm happy for them but all these victories tear at me. There is no forward momentum in my own writing and I fear this year will be for naught. What will this mean for next year? Five years from now?
I don't know how much more I can bear and this says so much more about the state of my hurting heart than anything else.
My dear friend Kat called the other day and I answered because we are so rarely available at the same time. We talked about the past month's events. I could hear her shaking her head as she considered not just the past month but the past few years. She ticked off a list of changes and losses, some I hadn't even considered as playing into my current load, and it's no wonder my sigh is especially heavy. She spoke words of truth and encouragement over me, a little balm in my time of need. But these things still remain.
My plaintive cry is "when? why? when? Lord, have mercy."
If this seems dire, I suppose it is.
Here's where the eleventh month of hoping finds me. My hope is not attached to outcome. It can't be. Life changes too fast, results are temporary, and there will always be a plot of greener grass somewhere.
I tick off a list of gratitude: a roof over my head, a freezer stocked with CSA-fueled sustenance, a job that provides, good books, a wonderful family, a best friend only 5 blocks away, Irish Breakfast tea...A God who loves me as I am and who daily forms me into the woman He envisions me to be. Prone to melancholy and self-cynicism, He points me toward Hope and I see how this is changing me.
God rarely shows up big and splashy in my life but the pinpricks and glimmers are there daily when I have eyes to see.
I will press forward. I will wait. Surely I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.