"Hope has a way
of turning it's face to you,
just when you least expect it.
You walk in a room,
you look out a window,
and something there
leaves you breathless.
You say to yourself,
it's been a while since I felt this,
but it feels like it might be hope..."
I know, I know...I've used Sara Groves' "It Might Be Hope" before...to keynote a piece...but I just love it so much.
Today, it was the perfect soundtrack for what I've been thinking, and praying, about lately...the connection between random acts of kindness, senseless instances of beauty...and the power of hope.
I am starting to believe that these instances of spiritual serendipity, these moments of grace, are actually gifts of encouragement from a beneficent God.
I am convinced, that the challenges and demands in our life are actually exercises in the laboratory of Love. They are opportunities for practicing the very special kind of love which transforms lives. That they allow us to plumb the depths of who we are at our best, to explore the far reaches of what we are capable of experiencing...as genuine spiritual beings.
But I also think that these moments often feel like they will never end. As if we will never, in our wildest dreams, finally reach the point of actually discovering the great lesson, uncovering what was hidden, or understanding the reason for it all.
It's not hard to become weary, feel discouraged, or wonder to one's self, "am I just destined to get it wrong...again, and again...to never reach the promised land, find my freedom, rest my heart, and heal my body."
And this is where a simple act of kindness from a stranger, the beauty of a double rainbow, or an unsought moment of inspiration comes and resurrects, rekindles, restores what felt so fragile. Just when we least expect it, there it is...a moment of grace. And this instance of grace, as surprising as water springing from the crevice of a rock in the sub-Saharan desert, causes us to stop, take off our shoes, and refresh our parched hopes...we are on holy ground.
Emily Dickinson says that:
"Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all."
As much as I love this quote, and believe, with all my being, that it is true...that hope is persistent, always singing her song of encouragement within us...it often gets lost in the din of despair. But hope is relentless, and God has, as Mary Baker Eddy promises,
"Infinite resources with which to bless mankind..."
Thus, beauty, kindness, and inspiration come to us in our moments of discouragement, and waning strength, to shore up our patience, replenish our courage, and revive our ability to persevere.
Whatever might seem beyond hope, to you, tonight...isn't. Nothing is beyond hope...just ask a butterfly, the man "who was born blind," the ash-borne phoenix, the father of a soldier missing in action, the mother who sits each night in a rocker she bought for the child she is waiting to adopt ...they know the song...because they too:
"sing the tune without the words,
and never stop at all."
because it feels like it just might be hope,