What is hope to you?
Poet Emily Dickinson likens hope to something ethereal and eternal – a bird singing in the soul unceasingly. The first stanza of her poem goes like this:
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune–without the words,
And never stops at all,
There’s heavenliness to Dickinson’s view of hope that has been resonating with me this week. I have been thinking about and meditating on hope for the last several days, giving myself permission to look at situations through the eyes of hope and to not lock on to pessimism, disbelief or disappointment.
Since settling in after traveling throughout most of July, I have had to arrest myself several times from fretting about what I haven’t done or what I let slide. I found myself slipping into a funk because in the last few weeks I had not been praying as deeply or consistently as I had before and because a prayer project that I began with a friend seems to have stalled. I wasn’t writing like I had committed to myself to do, wasn’t exercising as I had been, wasn’t following through like I should on a couple of key commitments.
In the larger scheme of events occurring in the world, my stuff doesn’t amount to an ant hill. Nevertheless, each has the potential of keeping me off center just enough to create a mountain of problems for me and others. I realized how irritable I was becoming one day when I found myself snapping at Greg about absolutely nothing. So I have been moving to self-correction mode, praying more, reading more and clinging to hope.
In one of his short stories, poet and author Paul Laurence Dunbar calls hope “tenacious” and writes, “It goes on living and working when science has dealt it what should be its deathblow.”
I like a tough hope as much, if not more, as I do a feathery one. Living with hope in our hearts prepares us for whatever challenges raise up to meet us as we journey through life. Little problems or big ones are put in perspective when viewed through eyes of hope.
This is the song that has been ringing in my soul today. I am looking forward to the assurance that its words will bring throughout the weekend.
My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand.
What is hope to you?
(Photo of singing cardinal is from iwitnessweather.com)