Saturday, December 17, 2005

Hope is a side road.


Resilient creatures, we humans are. Just when you think you cannot possibly take anymore... Just when you think there's no way you can get up and face the day. ...Just when you feel like you've hit the bottom of despair and there's no turning back....

You find a way.

As the old saying goes "Hope Springs Eternal". And it's so true. Look down, look really deeply down to that place where you invite no one. You'll find it there. 'Cause you can't kill hope. Even when you're don't think it's there, it is. It sits quietly and infiltrates your most private thoughts before you realize that there is still hope within you.

If there's one thing I've learned in the past couple of years it's that we all have our own battles to fight and wars to wage. Sure, we have good times and bad times and better times but we all face something. Whether it's a marriage gone sour or a loved one facing cancer or lonliness or depression or infertility we all fight the good fight. Some days we shut down. We say to ourselves and each other, "this is it. I cannot do this anymore. I'm tired and beaten."

But sure as the sun will rise, so will hope. It'll be a whisper at first ~ but it's there.

I write this because I have gone through more self blame, self doubt, self hate, resignation and despair than I ever thought I could handle. There are days when I want to give up, when I cry myself to sleep, when I want to forget about the whole thing but somewhere in that deep well of my soul, hope springs.

The last couple of months I've given Hope a lot of thought. I've examined it and wondered at it. Two years ago, I didn't know the deep and unbreakable hope that lives within us. I didn't understand it. I would throw the word around easily and carelessly, not truly understanding. And I still don't completely understand how hope and the human spirit are so intertwined. In the past I hoped for things like a job offer, a winfall, a phone call, a good grade... And I still do hope for the littles things. But now I know the true power of hope. I understand that it really does spring eternal as well as I understand that I will have more days when I think that hope is gone.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Blessed

The previous night’s snowfall made the trees look spectacular on Friday. If you bothered to look ~ which many people don’t ~ the bare branches topped with pure white snow made beautiful lacework scenery every way you turned.

I go out at lunch pretty much every day. I need that time to get away from this soul sucking office environment. My strained eyes and sore neck desperately need the break every day. On this particular day I decided to take my camera to a close-by nature trail. That’s one of the beautiful things about where I live and work. You can be on crowded, dirty, city streets one minute and surrounded on all sides by nature the next.

I picked my path and sauntered along taking pictures as I went. It was quiet. The snow and the foliage blocked out much of the traffic noises that weren’t too far away. Big flakes of snow were falling all around me. Rounding a curve in the path I found myself staring at a deer. She was beautiful and didn’t seem nearly as surprised to see me as I was to see her. She peered curiously over her shoulder at me as I hurriedly snapped pictures as fast as my camera would allow me.

What I didn’t know was that I needn’t have rushed. I crept closer to her and crouched down to get a good shot. She stared at me for a moment then began to pick her way through the branches towards me. Her close proximity made me feel utterly blessed.

There in that quiet, serene wood on an otherwise busy Friday afternoon, I communed with that deer for awhile. We stood in each other’s presence for many long minutes. For a moment ~ however brief it was ~ I felt like all was right with the world. Here was this beautiful creature, this gift, which was within a couple feet of me. I murmured soft words in the hushed atmosphere of the snowy woods and felt a real sense of peace steal over me.

It turned out that I had to leave before that deer got tired of me. I didn’t want to go. I felt exhilarated and touched at this experience and as I apologetically walked away the doe followed me for a few steps and watched as I headed back down the path towards my life.