Thursday, March 26, 2009


One of Emily Dickinson's best loved poems is called, "Hope"

The first couple of lines say, "Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches on the soul..."

When I envision that feathered thing, I have recently been picturing Big Bird. I used to picture a nightingale.

Greg and I have talked about this. We have decided there are two kinds of hope... there is a worldly hope, and then there is Eternal hope. Eternal hope is the only kind that ever feels real to me. My hope for eternity is full of joy and contentment and it feels *light* and good because I know my eternity is taken care of. Jesus is my hope for Eternity, and I know I get to be in Heaven with Him someday. This is good!

But worldly hope depends on circumstances, and whether God decides to give us a 'yes' or a 'no'. Unfortunately, I cannot say for sure where that will lead. So, we cannot really know what will happen. My hope in this life feels shakey and unstable.

"My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness
All other ground is sinking sand"

Since Greg got his layoff, I've been battling with worldly hope--the sinking sand kind. Hope feels heavy these days. I don't want to rely on hope alone because hope has nothing to do with outcome any more than worry or anger. I can feel hopeful, but that is not going to mean that the hope will lead to anything. Hope is a feeling--an emotion. You can want something to death and never actually get it.

But for some reason, I keep on hoping! Why do I need to hope? Why is there this intrinsic part of me that hopes beyond all hope that Greg will have his job next year and we will not be stuck moving back in with one of our parents' homes? Why do I hope that we will be able to stay in this house without having to take on menial jobs, go on welfare, and put our children in daycare?

And then that worldy hope is actually almost synonymous with worry. And we are outright commanded not to worry.

Maybe I'll call it hopry.

One of the hardest parts of being a Christian has been coming to the point in my life where you realize your life is not about you, but it's about God doing stuff through you. How I RESPOND when God dishes out Job- (the person Job in the Bible... not talking about occupation/careers, here) -like moments is the true mark of my character. And to me, it's just plain HARD to keep on trucking--to keep the faith--to continue living like a believer when the world feels so weighty. I need to be okay with whatever might come my way, because it's the only way I'll make it through, faith-in-tact. I'm trying, and I believe that God is working even when I can't feel it.

But even if Greg gets his job back, I'm sure I'll still find things to hopry about.


Rachel Ann said...

This was so good. I think I'm gonna read it again.

jeff said...

beautifully written, crystal.

we're praying for the four of you!

Gregory said...

Crystal, I hope I haven't destroyed that piece of you that was an optimist. But, your thoughts are echoed in my heart. I love you.

Modoc-ers (Alturisans), I will never forget that "fill-in" sermon by Andrew McLaughlin's dad, Jim, that said in essence, "You just have to learn to say, 'Ok God, if that's what's gonna happen in this life, it's OK with me." and not hold it against God. Life is what God gives you. But, our relationship with HIM is the ultimate hope. Everything else will pass away.

I think Crystal is right in the one frustration that we don't know what our relationship will be like in heaven... OUR RELATIONSHIP. Unlike Mormons think what Joseph Smith came up with, we Christians just don't know. Jesus said in essence, "It's just not like that, you guys!" So, what then? I just know that I'm glad I know God, and I am glad I am still alive and with my great wife, Crystal... and of course, my two kids... and dog, too. (BTW.... what happens to dogs?)

harmijo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
harmijo said...

What a wonderful way to explain hope. You have a great grasp of what real hope is and that will help you through this difficult time like nothing else.

You are so right; hope is about how we react to what God gives us. Jesus knows what is ahead even when we feel blind as we walk along the path of life. Sometimes it is good to be 'blind' as to what the future holds though so that we allow Him to lead us.

Jesus says he only has plans to prosper us, and not in sense that we know often think of it, but in the things that give true wealth to this life, and your life is already full of so many of them, faith, love, happiness, family, friends. Whatever happens the path will lead to right were God wants you to be.

I am praying for you guys my friend.