Tag Archives: hope

Ernest Hemingway said …

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”

I believe this to be true. 

I’ve been broken so many times that I’ve lost count.

A couple of times, the brokenness nearly won, but for the most part, I came up with my head above water.

What breaks us doesn’t define us, but  having the desire to put the shattered pieces back together does.

I was many times, in the broken places, at my strongest.

I can’t begin to explain the transformation; but there was one.

I’m still looking for lost pieces, but I have faith that if they are meant to be found, they will be.

I do believe Hemingway was spot on when he, a very broken man, said that string of words.

If one hasn’t been broken, they’ve yet to be born and can’t possibly understand the beautiful array of colors that a skewed, broken and pixillated life has to offer.

Until you break it, you can’t begin to know what is inside.

A bit like a Sand Dollar.

Once you’re broken, you can’t stop looking at all the intricate shapes, shards and pieces.

I’m not much on working puzzles, but the pieces and parts of life fascinate me.

I don’t start at the corners.

Instead, I start in the center and build outward because the corners will always be corners.

Those broken already know where the corners are; it is the center that perplexes us and makes us stronger than we would have been were we not broken.

I, as we all do, struggle sometimes.

It’s part of the journey.

If we don’t struggle, we lack understanding and in doing so, give up.

If we give up, the broken places win and the corners cease to matter.

I’m not a poor loser but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t prefer to win.

Romans chapter Twelve is my favorite place in the bible. Each verse speaks to me directly …

But this one, in particular, (Romans 12:12) speaks louder each time I read it …

It says “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instantly in prayer.”

There are times I’m certain God doesn’t hear me. I know, as any believer does, when these dark, silent times come.

The silence is deafening.

Unnerving.

Unwavering.

But at others, when the silence is broken and I know He hears me, I’m mesmerized.

Goosebumps threaten to overtake me and nearly make me forget what I was praying about to begin with.

Life is hard.

It’s hard for everyone.

None of us have the franchise of a life unriddled with trials and hardships.

But it’s also, if you pay attention, riddled with joy.

To give up or give in is a selfish act that says we weren’t willing to fight; to survive.

A coward’s way.

I was a coward for much of my life.

I refuse to be one through the rest of it.

I’ll look for those missing pieces, lost friends, severed relationships, missed opportunities.

I haven’t always, but I do now; but, if I don’t find them, so be it.

I’ll find them somewhere along the way or understand they weren’t for me to begin with.

I’m OK where, often alone, I find myself.

I always have been.

Whom shall I fear?

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Sometimes, at Christmas …

people are sad.

They are lonely and grieving and sorrowful for things they can’t change.

Even happy people get sad during this time of year.  They start thinking about what they have or haven’t done.

Things they’ve said or left unsaid.

They look away from the homeless on the street and the hungry in their own hometown.

The look for friends where there aren’t any and find reasons to feel sorry for themselves.

I can say this because I live it.  I experience it.  I understand it.

I am an optimist, but sometimes, my smile is painted on and my heart is heavier than I think I can carry.

I look around at my life and take stock as Christmas looms on the horizon, as the New Year stares me in the face and I think “what do I have to offer anybody?”

And then, like the soft light rising out of a foggy Spring morning, I am reminded that Christmas isn’t about me.

It isn’t about trees or gifts or money or family or friends.

It is about something so magnificent, so profound, so incredibly huge that it leaves little room to be sad.

It is about a child that was born of a virgin.

Not just any child.

The child.

The Christ child.

Think about that for a minute.

In this sex-crazed world, think about a young girl who had never given herself to a man and yet found that she was pregnant.

If you feel crazy, imagine what she was feeling.  Imagine what was going through her mind when she told the man she loved that, although she had never been with anyone, including him, that she was pregnant and that God had told her that it was ok.

How insane would that sound?

How could Joseph possibly trust her?

He trusted her because he trusted God and God trusted Mary with His son.

It sounds complicated and weird and yet it is so beautifully simple.

Who among us would not want to be chosen to carry the Savior of the world and who among us would not want to care for and love the one carrying that child?

Who among us would not want to be an integral part in raising that child, in cherishing Him, wiping His tears, telling Him bedtime stories, hearing Him say “I love you” as He wrapped His little boy arms around our neck?

I find that, when I think of the reason that we celebrate, the joy and inexplicable magnificence of it all, it is difficult to be completely sad.

Not impossible, for we are human and as humans, we can always find things to complain about, be sad about, be mad about.

We can always find ways that people hurt us or make us feel unworthy, who leave us wishing for more and hoping that tomorrow will bring the fulfillment of our dreams.

But if we let all the human emotions crowd our minds and hearts, we will forget why we celebrate to begin with and if we remember why we celebrate, then there will Joy unspeakable.

Yes, there will still be sadness and loneliness and melancholy … There will be loss, grief and memories that threaten our sanity … but they will, if we put them in perspective, be in their rightful place.

Behind joy.

Behind thankfulness and awe.

Behind beauty and love that surpasses anything we will ever find if we only see with our human eyes.

And because the feelings that threaten to destroy us are behind the Joy of remembering why we celebrate to begin with, we will live through them, move past them, learn from them and be stronger and more resilient because we have hope in something bigger than who we are and what we feel.

With hope, there is nothing impossible.

With hope, there is always the possibility of another day.

With hope, there is the image of Heaven.

Sadness can’t hold a candle to that.

My hope is that each one I know, each person I come into contact with, each spirit that crosses my own will know joy and that, even for a moment, the sadness will become obsolete.

Merry Christmas, my friends.

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Luke 2: 7-14

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

When laughter won’t come

I can feel it coming on.  The darkness.  First, only around the edges, creeping in like a dense fog that I know will, if it continues, consume me and completely separate me from everything except the thoughts that swirl in my head.  Thoughts that taunt me with hurtful things and imaginings, making me cry, then weep, then become angry in a way that I cannot grasp.  Words and faces become harder to focus on and forgetfulness struggles to keep me bound within the prison that is rapidly surrounding me.  The walls close in and yet I cannot bear the thought of getting out because then the vastness of space overtakes what bit of sanity I feel I have left.  I look around at the beauty I saw only yesterday and find it colorless and lacking and am even more saddened that it holds no interest to me and for that moment in time, I can’t find it within myself to care about anything.  Music, which is a source of great enjoyment becomes, instead of melodies, waves of noise that threaten to send me over the edge.  I become isolated by my own insecurities and emptiness and there is nowhere to go and to no one that I can turn.  At least that is how I feel during these dark days.

From one end of the house to the other, I pace, pace and pace some more.  Food doesn’t appeal, and all I can think of is how angry I feel.  There is never any warning before these days come, they just come.  Sometimes the darkness lasts for a day and others for several days.  I can’t sleep or think.  Working is a chore as it takes every fiber of my being to do my job without screaming, crying or just collapsing in pile of despair. I hope the phone will ring, that someone will call just so that I know there is another human on the planet that cares about me and at the same time, I can’t bear to talk to anyone.  There is nothing to say and no way to say it without sounding like a complete nut.  Forcing a smile becomes second nature for without it, there are the questions of what’s wrong? Are you ok?  Why are you so quiet?  And there are no answers to these questions.  What could I possibly say?  That I just want to disappear into a mist of nothingness until whatever it is that is consuming me goes away?  And then comes the niggling thought that maybe I’ll feel like this forever and that the laughter will never come back into my life and the despair overtakes me.

I spend a lot of time avoiding God, or at least trying to.  While I try to run from Him, He is steadily waiting for me to come to Him.  I find that I cannot out-wait God.  His mercy and patience far exceeds anything that I can even fathom.  I cry out to Him to take this darkness from me because I cannot fight it alone.  It is a scary place to be, where screams won’t come, laughter is lost and there is no release from the constriction that threatens to suffocate me.

And then, a ray, small at first, but a ray … and then a note, then a melody, then a bubble of laughter.  The darkness opens up and hope shines through, a bright beacon in what has been a harrowing space in time.  The smile becomes genuine and my heart, once heavy and burdened, becomes lighter.  The mercy and grace from a patient and loving God opens the door and I am able to walk through, safe again from the depression that would, if it could, destroy me.

It is usually at this time that I crash, sleeping twelve or more hours at a time, waking to feel groggy and hung over, but better nonetheless.  After the crash comes the healing.  It isn’t possible to explain to someone who has never experienced spirals of depression how it feels.  It is not possible to explain to a Christian how I can be so hopeless and still believe in a marvelous God.  Just because I cannot find it within myself to come out of the darkness doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in the light.  For now, the moment has passed.  Maybe it will be years before it happens again.  Maybe it will never happen again.  Or maybe I will wake up in the morning feeling as though the floor of my world has fallen away and I, too am falling into nothingness.  But until then, I will glorify God, shoot my Pentax and bask in a life worth living.

If you suffer from episodes of depression, you are not alone and you have nothing to be ashamed about.  While it may seem that you are in a world of one, you are not.  Hope doesn’t desert us when we give up on it, it just waits until we are able to look for it again.  And, as always, it is there and with it comes the laughter.