On Hope and Hopelessness
If you’ve lived any life at all, you’ve seen both hope and hopelessness. You’ve seen them both in big ways and small. You’ve maybe vacillated between the two rapidly, working desperately to find a balance between the two where you can live. You can’t hide from either, but it’s one of life’s little ironies that the one that we most want to capture tends to be the most elusive. Human nature allows us, somehow, to feel hopelessness just a bit bigger, strong and harder than hope, unless you make a concentrated effort to have hope be your main language. And even the ones who seem, on the outside, to be the best, have the most and be so filled with that which you desire in your very heart of hearts, they too struggle with both and work daily to strike that balance.
This morning, hopelessness won out in me. I looked around and felt no abatement in the chaos I created in my own life. I blame no one else. I live out my own struggle daily, owning fully my part. I work without ceasing to rebuild that delicate balance we all crave. I strive day in and day out to be good enough to keep the peace and hold the beast of hopelessness at bay. And some days I win. And some days I lose. Sometimes I feel like my little flintstone feet can’t possibly get me to the goal that I so desperately want, the goal of happiness. The wall is too high to scale and the bar is constantly moving, a target I can’t possibly hit with any regularity.
And sometimes, I wake drained from the effort of trying so hard, of playing a game where the rules change constantly and the ref is usually on the take.
But see, what I’m learning is that I’ve really got only two choices in this daily battle. I can give in. I can lay down and call myself the loser.
Or I can pick myself up and just move.
Because what I didn’t get before, that I get now, is that hope is not of this world and it’s all about perspective. It’s what we all work for, but we find fleeting and elusive unless we give up on the idea that we can master our own. This world will cheat you. It will trick you. People you love and that love you will dash your hope and cut you to the core, because they, too are struggling to find their hope and in their flawed entirety cannot possibly be yours.
The only one who can bring you hope, the only one who can bring that peace to get up and move when your feet seem glued to the ground, is the very one that took death on face to face and won. You’re going to rely on what else to get you there?
Can it go with you when you die? (and we all die)
No. I think not.
A spouse? child? Boyfriend? Girlfriend?
Can they go with you?
You know the answer to this one too.
You get my point.
The whole point of the gospel is not shame. It’s subtitle is not “how to win happiness and work your way into heaven.” The whole point is that we are destined for hopelessness. We are, regardless of your beliefs on creation, flawed creatures that tend to wreak havoc and break things. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the damage that simple human nature causes. It probably doesn’t even take a rocket scientist to see the damage in your very own life. No, the whole point of the gospel is that we are flawed. It happened. And there’s no way we can make it on our own. We can try, but will never quite get there. You and the murderer down the street are just 6 degree of separation from each other. It sucks to say, but it’s true.
But we are loved. And loved fiercely. And without fail. At our best and at our worst. We are loved. And that love took human form ages ago to save us from ourselves. And we all rejected him. We killed him. And he still loved us.
And still does.
And when I’m hopeless. When I’m tired of this game. I get down on my knees and pray. I pray with thankfulness that even at my worst, he loves me. I pray with awe, knowing that I am not worthy but somehow because of love, I have been made so.
And I feel love. Faith is not a feeling, friend. But the love that comes from it, that sure as hell is.
I feel love. And I move. Love spurns me to move.
So, today, friends. If you’re hopeless. I feel you. If you’re sad. I feel you too. If you’re scared. Been there as well.
But you’re here. And you’re breathing. And you’re loved. He loves you. And I love you. Breathe that love in. Breathe it out.