What Hope Looks Like

25108448854_3b8754915e_qI live for quiet, rainy Sunday mornings–the ones I don’t have anywhere to be anytime soon and no one is expecting anything from me. They are rare, these kinds of Sunday mornings, but today is such a Sunday, and I am savoring every second.

Perhaps more so because I spent most of last week in Indianapolis, attending a class that I think will make me much better at my work. I loved being there, reveled in the learning–but I missed my sweet girl and our faithful dog and my own space very much, and so was happy to head south when I’d learned all I could for the week.

When I came back, the very first thing I noticed was that the trees here in the Bluegrass, they’ve got buds on them. Some of those buds beginning to break open so they can emerge into that perfect shade of pink/red/violet that only a redbud tree can capture. Hostas and daffodils are starting to push up out of the ground, too. Five days I was away…and that’s all it took for me to notice spring beginning her arrival.

I’ve got some friends in the midst of difficult days. And they’ve been on mind a lot this last week. One’s facing a life-changing health issue. One’s trying to navigate her way through a difficult time in her marriage. One continues to long for a baby and her body continues to betray her in this regard.

These three beautiful women aside, I could go on and on listing the difficult things in the world. You know I could. Because it is a damn scary world and there’s a lot going on and some days it seems that maybe we’re all just destined to continue spinning into angry chaos.

And sometimes…sometimes it seems that maybe this world might break us.

But y’all, I swear to you, I saw those buds when I got back home, and I thought how soon they’ll be blazing so gorgeous some warm spring evening, and I just knew, “That…that right there…that’s what hope looks like.”

Those buds–they aren’t much to look at right now. They’re tiny and mostly still wound up in themselves and they’re easy to miss if you aren’t paying attention. But they’re there. And the thing is, they are living testaments to the possibility of new life. It’s that simple and that amazing, all at once. They came last spring. They’ll come this spring.

Never mind how cold or dark or long or oppressive winter has been, those little buds are the best promise I know that such winters do not last forever.

I don’t know how you offer up a redbud tree as testament to hope in the face of all that threatens to undo us. I don’t know how you offer those tiny buds to countries torn apart by civil war. Or to a hungry child. Or to a single parent trying his or her best to build a life out of the rubble of what once was. Or to one who has lost a mother or father or child or best friend too soon and too awfully. I don’t know how you stand in witness to the absolute and utter heartbreak that this life is capable of doling out and say, “There’s hope. This redbud tells me so.”

I don’t know. But I’m offering it anyway.

I write these words with a heart that is so often unsure of the very things I am claiming. But I claim them anyway.

Because I have been fortunate enough in this life to know such unbelievable goodness just when I thought such goodness could never be again.

It isn’t much. I know that. And it doesn’t guarantee quick fixes or immediate easy days or magic solutions to the things that weigh on us.

It isn’t much. But it’s what I’ve got available. So I’m going with it.

This morning, hope looks like a redbud tree. And maybe recognizing this will help me–will help all of us–see the hope offered in other things and people and experiences around us, too.


photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/11703832@N08/25099541524″>Its Bark is worse than its Blight</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

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