Tripping thru hope.

That would be the best way to describe my journey to the heart of this subject. And just like last years excavation of joy-  The fates, or universe,  or enemy of our souls …however you choose to look at it.. is working overtime to make hope seem out of reach and … well hopeless.

Thaniel contracted scarlet fever.  Read it again if you have to, I sure did. Scarlet fever.  Like didn’t that die out with smallpox and polio??  for serious?  But there we are, my little warrior sporting a temp of 105 +  with spots, a rash, and beyond miserable.  Rightfully so.

Our nights were once again sleepless, I watched my baby boy struggle to swallow and look at me with fear as he tried to understand the pain and why it hurt to drink. I laid awake waiting for the alarm to go off to check his temperature again and readminister tylenol. And as in all health hiccups with Thane, I watched for any and all changes in his bowels and held my breath. Asked my other children to be on call for extra help and to understand why I was napping during ‘movie night’ . And then my own fever began, and I held him with sympathy because his pain was my pain.

I found it adorable when the Doctor seeing to him looked wryly at me and said  ” ideally you won’t be the one caring for him, he’s very contagious”   Both neutropenia and I chuckled under our breaths at the idea of putting my sick youngster into the hands of someone else to spare myself a future illness. I opened my mouth for her to peer into and she grimaced and gave me her sternest “why” face.  As I type I’m just basking in the drug induced glow of painlessness during the strep throat that came with caring for Thaney in his need.  HE IS ALWAYS WORTH IT.

Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.             Vaclav Havel

What is it to hope in the center of struggle? What do you hope for, or put your hope into?  What does it look like, sound like, feel like , to cling to something when everything around you is beating at you with fevered fists?

 That’s just it though, Hope doesn’t need to be clung to.

Hope clings to you.

I have this vision in my head of lashing myself to that center mast..(is it mast? I don’t know, I don’t sail.. is there another word for that big pole thingy that sticks up in the center of a boat?? lemme know)  Anyway, I have this picture in my head of being strapped to that thing and weathering the storms that that come my way.  My arms wrapped tightly around that pole, face pressed into the wood as the wind and waves assail me.  The pole being Hope, and the storms are my life.

But what I’m learning is that Hope is the ocean.

It surrounds you.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrew 10:23

That pole I’m clinging to is a false sense of “I can do this”  It’s a lottery ticket as a retirement plan, it isn’t going to save me, it just can’t.  Silly pole.  I have a friend in the Navy and she’s described  WALLS of waves coming at their war ship..I bet she’d scoff at my tiny sailboat mast that I have my arms wrapped around.

The Lord is all I have, and so in him I put my hope. Lamentations 3:24++

God is our very PRESENT Hope the bible says. We HAVE this hope says another verse. We’ve got it! He came, He declared Himself for the whole world to see and hear… ” are you tossed?  Jesus said..why?  why do you fear?? look!!  I’m right here in the boat!!  I’m your only hope, and I’ve got you.”

What happens if I fall overboard into that ocean? What will I lose?  Really what am I afraid of? of risk? of loss? of pain? of drowning??   I’m so tired of kicking and fighting and pushing ahead despite having no clue where I’m going, I just know if I stop I’ll collapse. Aren’t I already drowning? Aren’t I already in pain?  What if I just spread my arms wide and let the ocean hold me. Stopped kicking and let the waves carry me.  What if I put myself in God’s hands and allowed Him to cling to me?

I went to sleep with that idea bobbing in my head and woke several hours later to a text from a dear friend that simply said ” I just felt I should tell you ‘You’re awesome”

 It was like a tap on my shoulder from Jesus saying ” I’m here, I got you”   And I slept like a baby after that.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Thaniel weathered the storm too. Scarlet fever behind him… one more war well fought. He’s my hero.  His wee nose looks like something tried to chew it off, and he lost 2 pounds and he doesn’t trust me when I say somethings “yum” right now ( had to give him medication that was definitely NOT yum ) But he’s singing again , as is his mommy and we are floating together.

Maybe try it out.  I’m just sayin. What could happen?  Someone won’t get all of you all the time? Maybe dinner gets ordered in tonight? Maybe the dust settles and just stays there for a bit? Maybe you say no. Without guilt or reasons or fear.  Maybe you sink. But I promise you this… The whole ocean is Hope. The wind,the waves, the salt, the sand and the bottom is Hope too.  I’ve lain there this week, looking up at the sun though the storm crashed all around… the storm was on the surface and couldn’t touch me on the floor of that ocean. Let go and let God.

“Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow; He who would search for pearls, must dive below.”   John Dryden.

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