What is Hope, Anyway?

Dear Friend,

Hope doesn’t always mean happiness. I started this blog, hoping to be a cheery voice to greet you and make your day a little brighter. I didn’t prepare for what to do when the days ran together and I feel like I’m drowning beneath a current that life keeps dumping on me. This week hasn’t been all bad. Parts have been encouraging and downright exciting.

I’m meeting new friends. Old friends are coming out of the woodwork (or their job buildings) with exciting plans of their own. Maybe they’re taking up an old dream or creating a new one. I’m finding other people’s talents and hopes and dreams shaping up in ways I never expected and sometimes I’ve been beaming from sheer excitement.

And then there are the other moments: moments when I have to stop working on Sentarra because, sitting, standing, no matter what I’m doing, it just hurts too much to be still. There’s the realization my car headlight is out and feeling the AC cut off and pulling over next to a cornfield to make sure I didn’t blow a tire. There’s staring, stressing at a blank page where there should be words for a talk I’m giving next week. There are mornings I can’t drag myself out of bed in time to write, evenings when my eyes are aching too much to handle any kind of light, afternoons working through migraines. A long list of things I need to do differently, fix, or change that just grows into another good intention floating past my listless body. And the deep, gnawing ache for people and circumstances that just aren’t there and can’t be replaced with substitutes.

What do I write to give people hope when I’m whispering to myself that I feel like I’m drowning? Yet, there is hope. Hope doesn’t always look like laughter and sunshine. Hope is stronger than that; it doesn’t depend on circumstances, it doesn’t balk to enter into places we would fear to go. It can be found in every crack of the most awful places, in the eyes of the most mistreated humans, and in the darkest parts of humanity.

Hope is stronger than fear. Hope is what can give us courage, inspiration, or even the motivation to drag ourselves up and take that very first action, the smallest inch of a step, the most feeble attempt to create a better life than the one we have.

Life is tough, but it’s only for a season. There are pieces falling into place. There are hours that I don’t think about pain, there are words getting onto the page despite the setbacks. There are people reaching out from every angle to offer support, companionship, and advice from their own experiences.

Then I read a friend’s blog, another writer on the same journey I am.

Do you feel like you are drowning at the bottom of a passing river of time, chained to a figuratively submerged boulder of your own circumstances?  What is it that weighs you down, that keeps you from expressing your voice or lending your talents to your calling?  Are the conditions not ideal for you or the timing just not right for your pursuit of the dream that calls you to act?  To take that first step of obedience?  Do you feel overwhelmed by the thoughts and wonder if you should just surrender yourself to the river.  To meekly open your mouth and swallow and be swallowed by oblivion and a life lived with no purpose?  I don’t.  I will not surrender to the surroundings of my encroaching circumstances.  I will not let the river of time steal my last few gulps of air, or let the smell and stench of the prison cell so diminish my hopes that I can never see outside of the stone walls that presently confine me.  I do have a gift and am given talents that are tools to be used for a higher calling.  I must learn to see outside of my confinement.  Learn to write under the smallest beam of moonlight that somehow made its way through the small open air window at the top of my prison cell.

And I still, realizing, yes, I have whispered over and over lately, “I’m drowning.”

And I’m not alone here. I don’t have to drown. I have friends.

And so do you. Come on. Let’s get out of this river.

Love, Lindsey

P.S. If you want to see the rest of his blog post, especially if you’re on a writing journey, here you go. And no, he doesn’t know I’m linking him here. 🙂

It is almost daybreak. The sun’s glow gives a gilded edge to the mountain peaks in the distance. The dawn is still a few hours away, but we feel the promise of it. With the daybreak, comes the hopeful promises. The chance to make those wishful dreams that linger in fading memory a work in […]

via Writing From Prisons — Surface World