Remaining Hopeful – More than a Desire
Sometimes, it isn’t easy to remain hopeful. When others around us provide support and help us see the way forward, it is easier to see where God is operating in our lives. However, this is not always the case. There are moments in our journey when all around us seem opposed to what feels like the right direction; the truth of what is happening; and a desire to have us remain in the “status quo”.
The Irish poet, John O’ Donahue, describes this as a time of stocktaking. Where we write down seven things, people, and characteristics that define our current life. As if we were looking back on it from our deathbed. Now, while this may seem a little morbid, John sees this as looking forward to look back on ourselves, to see what defines us today, and our current situation. When we complete this list, we often can see all those factors, people, and characteristics as the “furniture” of our present lives. Moving on from here, changing jobs, relocating, even changes of relationship, we can see sometimes nothing changes, but we morph ourselves back to the same place, the same pieces of furniture still surround us. And hence, we may find ourselves in this dark location, where they appear to be little hope around us.
The answer lies in two places, both built around gifts given to us from God. The first of which is God’s gift of hope. If we embrace the truth, we will see the path ahead, which sometimes we may need to find new ways to embrace because those around us may not see it or may not want us to take it.
The second is our freewill and willingness to change the “furniture” around us. Be willing to start a new piece of paper with seven factors we want to look back on in the future, not the ones on our current list, but ones that represent the change we desire in ourselves.
So, as Joan of Arc described in her trial, “God helps those who are willing to help ourselves”. A relationship is a complex, moving morass of love and other feelings, with us continually oscillating between them. Even for those we love the most.
This week, let our love for God help us transform ourselves into a willing servant to follow Him into the divine darkness, where we know He resides, along with our future. Otherwise, we may find ourselves back at the beginning, on the edge of decisions, but unwilling to change the “furniture” around us. Only, upon our return, to find ourselves again unmoved, unchanged, and unhappy.