I’m distracted today, watching various weather reports. Like so many people, we are dealing with the effects of the latest winter storms. I woke up several times last night because of the unfamiliar sound of huge raindrops plopping against — and freezing on — the window. I peeked outside, amazed at such clarity and brightness in the middle of the night. There is a bush right outside the window and it glistened with the ice accumulation on the branches. Each little twig was encased in frozen glass, and I marvelled at both the beauty and the potential for destruction.
So many things are that way, aren’t they? The thing that is so disarmingly beautiful can also be alarmingly dangerous.
Across the street, the neighbour’s lamps illuminated their driveway, which by then was a skating rink of ice. It looked more like an oil painting than a real yard. In that kind of weather, the strokes are bold and fluid. In that kind of light, it’s mysterious and haunting.
This morning, I’ve watched as my husband — who was supposed to be travelling today — took advantage of the above-freezing temperatures we were having for a few hours as the systems move through. He spent that time chipping the two-inch thick layer of ice from the driveway.
We are expecting a blizzard later, and what they call record-shattering temperatures. Can’t say I’m looking forward to that.
It’s taken me all day to write this, and my husband found a flight and has left for the airport.
Now, I have to face this storm alone.
On a dreary day like today, it’s easy to lose hope. I don’t know why it brings such sadness to me. Perhaps it’s because there are many in my life right now who struggle to grasp wisps of hope. Some of them choose despair because it is a familiar companion or because it brings about attention they don’t think they’ll get otherwise. Some choose to stay there because they have no coping mechanisms for the consequences of past decisions. Some are having a ‘Job-year’ where everything seems to fall apart through absolutely no action of their own. I’ve been in all those places. My melancholy temperament knows it well.
Yet hope is one of those things we must cling to, just as we cling to the knowledge the sun is there despite the dense tapestry of clouds in front of it. We can find it if we ask for it, and if we look for it. I feel hope when I see the birds at the feeder. I just saw a little chickadee preparing in this quiet before the storm, gathering what he needs while he can.
I guess that’s part of it. We prepare for some of the life-storms as best we can, but the gift of hope is what will carry us through. Those of us who have encountered a living God hold on because we hope in his promises to sustain us.
We might still have to deal with the consequences of our choices. Sometimes we mess up, but that doesn’t eliminate hope. We are given opportunities to mature and grow, and it’s up to us to do what we can to make the most of them.
I’m being given such an opportunity this week, and to be honest, it scares me enough to make me procrastinate against the things I must do. I have promised myself to seek a big life this year, and that will take both courage AND hope. In some respects it’s silly. I’ve survived, and even thrived under the threat of bigger storms than this.
It makes me wonder why we are often so willing to trade hope for fear. How is it that something so negative is the easier thing to hold?