Not long ago I was talking with a friend about new experiences. We pondered that awkward business where you are on altogether foreign turf and you just have to smile like mean it; then press on until you catch your breath. A swimmer in deep water, with the waves crashing overhead, learns to bob between the waves, catch his breath and wait for the next wave to crash overhead. There are moments when the timing is off and the water is unbounded, leaving the swimmer spluttering and flailing. Maintaining hope is not unlike the swimmer’s rhythm … bob and weave. Bob and weave.
Hope extracts more from us than despair. To carry hope within oneself demands that we run with blistered feet, our heart in our shoe. It requires that we laugh at the future instead of mourning.
Despair doesn’t know any better than to cause a person to curl up and whimper quietly. Hope has little room for self-pity and says, “Get dressed. Get moving. Go make something of yourself today.” Hope requires strength from within, the likes of which often goes missing at eventide. We receive grace just for one day at a time, and I forget that. Perhaps hope is the fruit of a thankful heart. Those who focus on the blessings of the day always seem to be chock full of hope for tomorrow. I think I’ll give that a whirl….to cultivate a thankful heart. Perhaps Ms. Dickinson’s feathered, perching thing will find me there.