Hope more

For the month of January, I’ve been participating in a 500 words/day challenge. The group has been great, and the push to write every day has benefited me greatly. 500 words is doable. 500 words/day can make a book.  Today’s post is about Hope, in response to one of the group’s writing prompts.

I used to think nothing was elusive as hope. To be honest, I was a person who refused to indulge in it. There’s no question, I was a glass-half-empty kind of girl.

P1070717Example:  In college, I got flowers from a guy and while others were oohing and aahing and saying how beautiful they were, I actually said this:  “Meh … they’re going to die soon.”

I can assure you, I practiced negativity as an art form so such a response came easily to me. I could find fault in absolutely every little thing. And I did it so people wouldn’t find fault with me. I didn’t know any other way to be.

One day, I was late for band practice. I made up some lame excuse, hoping the prof would feel sorry for me.

He didn’t. In fact, he said,

“You know, if you would just let people like you for who you are, they would. You don’t have to try to get attention all the time. It’s not working.”

Oh, and he gave me a warning about being late again in the future.

I fumed my way through practice and probably stormed out of the room adding a bit of door slamming just to make sure he understood how upset I was with him. The truth is, he didn’t care about that. He loved me enough to reveal an ugly thing in a way that made me see it could–and should–be changed.  Once I got over my little hissy fit, I was able to love and respect him back.

He was right, you see, and it was a defining moment in my life. I was eliminating anything positive from my life because I was afraid to live it. I wanted to push people away before they could do it to me. I figured it would hurt less. Being vulnerable, hoping for a better life, hoping for a future that was the way I wanted it to be–those things were scary to me. I was becoming hopeless because I wasn’t willing to hope more.

But hope should be a defining characteristic of our lives. No one ever said life was going to be easy, and certainly I can attest to that. It’s the wrong question anyway. Life doesn’t have to be easy. It just has to be worth it.  Hope makes it worth it.

God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope,
quietly hope for help from God.
It’s a good thing when you’re young
to stick it out through the hard times.

Lamentations 3:25-27  The Message

Having embraced hope, I know that I am no longer the same person I was when I was young.  There is so much joy in that knowledge, joy that comes from God.

If you look back on your years–whether they are 16 or 90–are you different now than you were before?  Does hope define you? And if it doesn’t now, are you brave enough to let it tomorrow?

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