We find ourselves juggling various roles, trying to control various curve balls all the while going through what seems to be the never ending ups and downs of life. Sometimes we love it and sometimes we’re screaming at the top of the rollercoaster – “I JUST WANT TO GET OFF’. However, ‘Stuff’ doesn’t just fade away and far too regularly we are hit in the face with a big ball labelled, LIFE. Fact.
Recently I heard someone say “Who said this was never going to come up again”? Its true – who ever told us that life is all roses? And who told us once you’ve “dealt” with something that it will never arise again? Who told us that seasons are seasons and just to ride the wave? Who has sold us the story that if we follow God, everything will be ok? Bollics. I find when we believe these cliché’s it can rock our world even more. We become vulnerable to all the LIFE flying around and are left questioning– “I thought they said it wasn’t going to be like this...”
I guess I’m old enough now to realise that it doesn’t always work out the way we think. We will get rocked, shaken and hurt and unfortunately, it will happen again. Now please don’t get up in arms, I’m not a complete pessimist, just a person rediscovering what it means to have hope.
So where does this leave one’s hope?
What should I Hope for? Why would I hope? What is Hope? How do I get it if I don’t have it? And what the heck do I do with it?? Far too many questions arise for me personally when I consider Hope amongst the brutality of life yet I’m confronted with it every day.
A friend once said to me “Hope gets me up in the morning, but it doesn’t soften the blow”. I think far too often we get Hope mixed up for something it isn’t. I don’t know how many times I have hoped for a change in situation, hoped for a miracle or even hoped that I could go back in time and change the way I have done things. Unfortunately hope is not my personal genie that I rub to make me life a painted rainbow, but hope can keep me going.
I’ve spent some time in Church over the last few years believing that if I just keep hoping in God, hoping in his will everything around me will fade away and my life’s curve balls will stop flying. I don’t understand how I could be so naive because this will never be the case. Don’t get me wrong I believe God can work miracles and transform lives, but quite often finding hope amongst life’s trials is the real challenge, especially when there is no ‘miracle moment’ to be seen. Therefore, I have needed to ask myself...
“Where is my Hope at?”
After working in an organisation where young women have viewed life as a formality they want skip, to them it seems, there is no hope. They have spent a life turning to alcohol, drugs, abuse, self-harm and suicide to numb the pain. The numbness has become their personal hope as they spend time distracting themselves for the hopelessness around them. Confronted with these young women’s stories I have been humbled as I have watched them recover hope.
It’s reflecting on these young women’s stories that I find truth in my friend’s statement. I can’t place my hope in God because he promises life will be perfect, but I can hope in a new day, it is this kind of hope that will get me up in the morning. The fact is if I only hope in a magic genie I could be left wanting. His hope can bring miracles, but it does not promise to deliver what we want all the time.
After spending time with these distraught young women, I have learnt that for them – Their hope doesn’t mask the pain but finds a way to get them up in the morning. They see hope in a clock – it keeps ticking, life keeps rolling, there will always be a sunrise and sunset. The regularity and continuity of life is a comforting thought, no day will ever be the same but we can be sure that there will be another. One of the biggest achievements hope can attain is the will to continue doing life.
Hope can life my gaze
After redefining my personal meaning of hope I’ve noticed a shift. I’ve stopped sitting, waiting, wishing and lifted my gaze. I’ve shifted my focus. Instead of the usual “Get me outta here” prayer I’ve searched for the hope amongst it all. A friend (yes another one, I have great friends...) said to me, “Chloe, you need to stop and smell the roses”. And again, it’s true. When we give every single part of ourselves into our curve balls we can lose sight of even the simplest piece of hope.
It can sometimes be as simple as the ray of sunshine in my window. Sometimes it can be to shift our eyes off our lives and be grateful for what we do have. And sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it is the blessing of getting up in the morning and continuing with life. Sometimes it’s the ability to stop and smell the roses I’ve forgotten about.
There is Hope that God is not done with me. There is hope that despite my everyday failings and ongoing angst – he still wants me. There is Hope that he doesn’t look at the stains in my life and say this is erasable. There is Hope that when even faced with the bleakest of situations I know that this too shall pass. Hope never promises to soften the blow of a situation but sometimes, if we let it, it can lift our gaze and we can take a moment to stop and smell the roses.
From now on Hope will get me up in the morning but I do not expect it to be my get out of jail free card.
Chloe Pryor is a young adult living in Auckland New Zealand. Studying a Bachelor of Dance, in her spare time she teaches young children dance, ballet and jazz, whilst volunteering hours in the youth ministry of her local church. Chloe has a passion for God and serving the local church with a defined heart for women.
Chloe Pryor's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/chloe-pryor.html