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11.27.2012

A THING WITH FEATHERS


Hope is a most interesting word and an even more interesting concept.  


The poet Emily Dickinson wrote about hope....

"Hope" is the thing with feathers --
That perches in the soul --
And sings the tune without the words --

And never stops -- at all --
 
And sweetest -- in the Gale -- is heard --
And sore must be the storm --
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm --
I've heard it in the chillest land --

And on the strangest Sea --
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb -- of Me.
 
 
Hope's origins are varied and somewhat mystical.  It is one of the drivers in our lives that propels us forward even when we can't see the end.  It is an unspoken but felt expectation and longing for improvement, change for the better, rescue, healing, light in the darkness.  It is a deep seated desire for the end result to be different than the present.  It helps us focus not just on the present, but the future.  It literally saves us.  It is a gift from God whether you believe it or even consciously think about God.  I like hope and I have desperately needed it in huge volumes in my life.
 
As I ran this morning I continued my thoughts from last night regarding hope.  I thought about running.  If I run and look down at just my immediate steps it becomes tedious, redundant, boring.  If I run and look up and forward I see my movement forward toward a landmark, the end of the street, that house up the way, a marker of distance that spurs me on to finish.  The distance seems shorter when my focus is not straight down at my feet, the mechanics of my running or the scenery of my shoes and pavement only.  Hope is that way too.  It opens up our heart to possibilities, to a bigger view, to something outside ourselves and away from our own shoes.
 
Hope isn't always logical though.  Unknown stuff usually isn't.  What it does is make us move outside of ourselves to something bigger than our sight, control or ability to be able to change presently.  That in and of itself takes a bit of the edge out of the struggle - lightens the load.  Is hope a form of present living denial?  Not in its purest and rawest form.  Maybe it's more of a God given, inherent coping mechanism designed to bring us to something bigger than the known, the present, the seen.
 
During a few very ill years of my life, when my doctor said he would fill out disability paperwork because I would never be able to work again, I clung to hope.  I clung to it like  someone drowning in the wide open sea would to a life raft.  And, I would not let it go.  I told my doctor that mentally I just couldn't let myself go to that place of disability.  To that place of limits and ends of things.  So I clung to hope.
 
It was during that time Rascal Flatts released their song entitled, "Feels Like Today" and the music video that went with it.  Hope screamed, urged, coaxed its way through that song as though it was penned just for me. The lyrics, music and video images added to support hope's message were a vessel used by God to keep hope afloat in my life.  I practically wore that song out.
 
Take a listen to the song and watch the video - click the link below:
Hope has been prevalent in my life most of my years.  There have been a few periods though of such darkness that I lost hope.  Without hope those dark moments sought to destroy me, pull me under, keep me stagnant and make me a slave to hurt and lies.  When I lost the man I deeply loved in my young years it kept me in bondage for a season.  When I lost him again in my middle years it nearly destroyed me.  Hope took the place of grief and loss eventually.

When I believed, even though I couldn't see the end, that there would be deep love that would come to my life, I was able to move forward.  Hope was that silent encourager, that familiar marker in the journey forward that told me it would come to pass.  And, it did.  Love replaced the loss of a lifetime.  Health eventually replaced illness.  Strength to leave an empty marriage eventually replaced living out other's dogma in my life.

Hope is most definitely a thing with feathers.  It is alive and moving.  It can and will carry you forward toward what you cannot see presently.

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