Choosing Hope

Thursday, September 22, 2011

This is an entry for Small Bird Studio’s Blog Hop. The subject is “Hope”
I enjoy blog hops, because they stretch my mind muscles a bit. I am still writing as “me”, but because the subject is dictated, I end up exploring aspects of “me” that I may not always pay attention to. They also help to push me out of my more figurative style of writing. It can be interesting and frustrating, but in the end, the blog hop blogs usually end up being full of gratitude. I like that- being able to express that other side of the grieving process.

So- Hope.
At first, it seemed like I had too many choices to make- there is so much to write about when it comes to the subject of hope. Where to begin?
One idea I had, was to write about this:
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Rev. 21:4
There is a scene in the movie Titanic. The ship is sinking, I mean, it’s the end- anyone who isn’t in a lifeboat by this point, isn’t going to make it. There is a priest standing at the top of a hill of people. Chaos is all around them. They are crying at his feet, reaching up to him. He is delivering the Last Rites, and at this point, the sea and the sounds of humanity become almost inaudible, as he reads this verse.
It is a stunning piece of visual imagery.
I haven’t seen the movie in years, and my imagination may have added some small elements to my memory. The idea of what I recall in this scene tugs at something so deep in me that my heart literally aches with emotion. The Gospel message was displayed very powerfully here- the {hope} that these people had, in this stunningly silent portion of this film awed me. The {hope} that the Salvation story was true- that even though their lives were ending here, something infinitely more glorious was waiting for them on the other side of the dark veil.

But… that’s not what I want to write about.

Another idea I had, was to tell you all about the study that we are participating in. It is a national study to help figure out why babies are affected with certain birth defects.
It was extremely difficult to help with this study. While anyone who hasn’t been in our position may believe that we would feel good about helping people out, the researchers go into great detail about your life for the year prior to the birth of your child. Not only did I have to answer some personal questions about my Bea’s short life in the womb, but I also felt the self- recrimination begin.
They asked a number of pointed questions about certain foods (cereal, bread) that I don’t eat- how much I ate per day, etc. They asked about my work environment, medications I may have taken, if I had a cold at the beginning of my pregnancy, etc. These may seem like relatively benign questions.
When you are racked with guilt, the questions become accusations.
If I ate cereal, would I now be enjoying a slobbering, toothless girl? Would I be too tired to blog because she would be keeping us awake at night?
But in the end, it was so worth it because we are helping to contribute to knowledge- maybe someone, someday, will be helped with our knowledge. Who knows- maybe one of you?
So, I {hope} that this study can bring some good to someone, and help women to grow more healthy babies.

But…. That’s not what I want to write about either.
I could write about the {hope} for another child, at some point… but I am of “advanced maternal age”, and my husband is almost a decade older than I am. So, we’ll just say that most of our {hope} for a new baby to love is invested in our adult children.
I have learned to be cautious in my hope for children. I haven’t held a baby since Bea was born. It would just bring my {hope} into a dangerous place of want.
So I will not be writing about that.

I think what I am going to write about is choice. The choice to hope.
The subject matter of the blog hop was actually more along the lines of “what has brought you hope this week”. All of the above apply, but this gave me pause:

This, gave me hope this week. It made me think a little more deeply about the choice we all make to hope.
Hope is making an active decision to believe in something that may or not happen- but to believe with the expectation that it will. To believe in the positive outcome-positive being relative to the person doing the hoping- of a situation.
When people lose all hope, they have allowed something precious to slip out of their hands. Something fragile is gone. Without hope, the impossible will never happen- and miracles become extinct.
When looking at this flower bud, please understand that this photo was taken today, September 22, 2011, in upstate NY. It is cold here. Fall is fast approaching, and winter with all of it’s coldness will soon follow. Most of the leaves have begun to change colors. The summer flowers are dying away. Here and there you see a bright burst of color as people set out mums to hold onto the growing season for as long as they can.
Soon, everything except the evergreens will be dead.
It is no time for flowers to begin to bloom. But these are.
They are morning glories. When I took the photo, I had no idea when their normal blooming season was. Since then, I have found that it is perfectly normal for them to be blooming this late into the fall. It was a bit disappointing, as I thought I had found the perfect subject to write about, as far as something that inspired me to hope this week.
The little flower that could. But this little flower always does.
So, what is this supposed to say to me? What deep and meaningful message is hidden here, in this late blooming flower? This flower that blooms on instinct at a time when most flowers are dying away?
I don’t know.
Now, you may read this, and think- “she missed the entire message!”
I was so excited to see these tiny buds, thinking it was an “a-ha” moment. But it wasn’t. It was just an ordinary flower, on an ordinary day, doing it’s ordinary thing.
But now, as I write this, I think I’m selling myself short. There are a lot of things I could attribute to this flower- I could make it a sign of something. A fetish of sorts- it does seem kind of symbolic- a flower that blooms in the cold wet fall.
It could also be that idea that sometimes things are different- that even flowers sometimes march to the beat of a different drummer. That even babies that don’t look so “normal” when they are born, are still part of the whole big picture.
Maybe the “message” was less about the season, and more about the flower itself- a morning glory. Or about the color of the blooms…

Again, I don’t know.

So, this is what I will write about hope this week.
There is no special thing that teaches us to hope. There is no symbol that makes us believe in the impossible. This flower was not a symbol of awakening like I thought it was.
It’s better than that.
Hope is normal. Hope is average. Hope is just an everyday occurrence for all of us who want to grasp it by the tail and hold on for the ride.
Hope is part of the human condition that has been pummeled out of us by negative experience.
We don’t need symbols and signs, in order to have hope.
Hope is the difference between childlike innocence and adult cynicism. When hope is lost, cynicism is what takes it’s place.
Hope grows where it’s planted.
It is a choice to reject the way that things seem to be, and to believe in the goodness of what life has to offer- every day. Hope isn’t about one specific thing- in the sense of “I hope I get that job,” or, “I hope he asks me out.” It is about everything. The natural rhythm of your life. The way you choose to greet each day. I choose to greet each day with my joy.
Hope is everything you thought you couldn’t feel any longer.
Hope is always looking to the future. Always looking forward, instead of backwards.
Hope is the companion of Joy.
And of Love.
And of Peace…..
Hope is the twin sister of Gratitude
Your gratitude is expressed in the way you choose to greet each day.
 I am choosing to greet each day with my joy, as tenacious as those vines. Barely clinging, fragile and easily crushed.
Blooming when you least expect it.
What will you choose for today?



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