You need it. I need it. We especially need it in times of struggle, loss, pain, grief, and confusion. As I muddle through another autoimmune flare, I’m grateful to be here. My immune system may overact, and my capacities may shrink, yet my spiritual body opens to wellness. Opens to the preciousness of being alive. To the wonder of being woundable by a disease or undone by a cat meme on the internet, even as we orbit through space. I’m fleshy so my irritability and chocolate cravings are real. And I’m also a cosmically complex collection of molecules, majesty and mystery. At this moment, small arteries that supply blood to my hands, feet and skin don’t react properly. Yet my heart is not constricting. It’s open. It’s miraculously permeable to invisible transformative energies of LOVE, of hope.
Hope Quotes, Encouragement & Faith in the Valley
None of us truly knows how much time we have here. So I’ll try to be more brave than safe as I pose questions, offer perspective while in the throes of the messy middle, and muddle through uncertainty.
First of all, is hope simply a coping mechanism? Do I latch on to it as a result of its emphasis in my religious upbringing? There’s so much heartful hopefulness in Christianity. Is hope merely something illusory that serves both the individual and the collective for survival?
It’s a rich question. When I was growing up, any theological doubts I expressed were often met with deep discomfort and fear. I learned to keep them in the dark. There was this message I absorbed time and time again that seeds of doubt could grow into something dangerously destructive if examined.
The right beliefs, the right behaviors, the right spiritual practices, the right deprivations, the right disciplines…I learned these things were necessary to become proper vessels for love. I learned that my worth depended upon loving the right things.
What I absorbed as an innocent was that my desires were dangerous and that I was not good when left to my own natural inclinations. Even as a young child, I longed for an experience of the divine, not more doctrine to memorize.
As I matured and my consciousness evolved, I began to bask in the gaze of a loving God who didn’t seem to be interested in transactions as much as transformation.
And as I lived with chronic illness and breathed suffering, there were plentiful opportunities for stillness, contemplation, observing birds and trees outside my window, and quiet listening.
I can’t claim to understand the mechanics. I keep getting lost in the wilderness, and hope keeps showing up. Seeds of doubt arise yet don’t wreck my faith. Because the condition of my faith naturally wavers like my health. I’m flawed, biased, and curse when in pain (and fine…on good days too). The strength of my faith is no longer a measure of my worth or a source of shame.
Rather, it’s a daily surrender to empty myself. To align with mysterious plenitude, Grace, Mercy, and Love with a capital L where I move and find my being.
So is hope just a strategy to help us cope?
I don’t know much of anything at all. Hope feels very real. But even if you’re shaky about it and dare to experiment with it, I can imagine it rewarding you.
Hope in the valley has a way of making hearts tender and teachable.
Hope is precious.
In my experience, when it is lost, when my circumstances point to scarcity, unrest, and random chaos, I can choose to stay in my thoughts where fear and hurt live.
Or I can humbly seek the grace for new vision by returning to my heart.
For me, right where I am, HOPE is alive, not as a product of my imagination to avoid despair, but as a source of hidden wholeness – nurturing my tender inner landscape of beauty with sunshine, with rain.
Thank you for reading what I share from a spirit of unknowing and love.
Peace to you right where you are.
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