Have you ever seen a little plant growing in the crevices of a sidewalk? It seems impossible that such a small thing as a sprout has the strength to crack apart roads, the symbols of human skill and speed, but there they are. Those persistent little sprouts always make me think of hope, and how powerful it is. Like those sprouts, hope is a bright spot of color in a gray world, reminding us that there’s more to life than the daily grind of work.
Do you feel like you’re struggling these days, friend? The seemingly endless churn of bad news lately has a lot of people feeling down. Together with our own local troubles, we hear reports of every disaster for miles around. That can really take its toll. And as we’ve seen recently, even the rich, successful, and beautiful aren’t immune to feeling lost and hopeless.
Lately, I’ve been doing some writing and revisiting about a pretty rough time in my life. After my first marriage ended, I felt utterly hopeless, as though I’d failed at my most important job. My parents were still married. In fact, they stayed married until one of them passed—until death they did part, the way it’s supposed to go. How could I, who had been given so many advantages, so many gifts, fail where they had succeeded?
I felt utterly humiliated, hollowed out, as though I couldn’t go on. I can’t tell you what might have become of me if not for the love and grace of my family and friends, who reminded me that where there is life, there is hope. I learned to seize that hope and to go on, sometimes one day at a time, sometimes one minute at a time, until I could once again see a future and a new life for myself.
I want to remind you that it’s okay to take care of yourself. Of course, you have obligations: work, school, family. But it’s vital for you to recharge and renew your own spirit. Even if it’s just a few extra minutes in the morning, or at night before bed, to say a quick prayer or affirmation, it will make a big difference. Eat as regularly and as well as you can manage, and drink plenty of water. Try to remember to breathe slowly and deeply, since breathing quickly can make feelings of worry and anxiety worse.
I can’t promise you that things will turn out the way you want them. I can’t tell you that the lost loved one will return, that your heart will un-break, that you will be restored as you were. But I can tell you that there is beauty in the brokenness of life. And I can tell you some of my story here in these pages, so that you will see how God, in his wisdom and faithfulness, has made the joy and beauty I now enjoy in my life from the ashes of my past sorrows.
And, most importantly, I ask you to cultivate hope. Like that little sprout pushing through a sidewalk or street, hope will reappear and remind you that there is still so much to love in this old world. The sun will always rise. The seasons will always change. People will always be their good, bad, lying, truthful, gloriously messy and complicated selves. With hope in our hearts, we can build a new world, a new future, together.