…But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
That scripture convicts me to think bigger and increase my willingness to believe in what I haven’t seen. But can we just take a second and be real about how painful it can be to have hope?
Have you ever wanted a job really badly? You feel like it’s yours so you share it with a friend? Then you don’t get it. So then you find another one and the excitement comes back, but you don’t get that one either. So next time you keep it to yourself so that your hopes aren’t up and you can take your loss quietly.
Have you ever wanted to see someone be healed from a life destroying disease? You pray for them. You pray for healing. You continue to watch them suffer. You pray harder because you have hope. Then, it gets to the point where you see that it’s not getting better. Against all logic, you press beyond the cognitive dissonance and you continue to have hope. You see them hurting and realize that they need and want rest, but you continue to believe. The hope helps your mind rest, but makes your heart ache because your heart acknowledges the reality.
Have you ever decided to open your heart to someone new only to find that they’re gonna break it too? Part of you wants to try again, but the other part just wants to admit that having hope sets you up for disappointment.
After so much hurt and disappointment, life teaches us to be pessimistic or unmoved so that the bad doesn’t damage and the good comes as a total surprise. But I just want to say that no matter how much it hurts, have hope. Believe only the best things are coming for you and your people. Somebody has to see the glass half full. If you can recall the hurt that all the above situations caused, you can also recall life going on and eventually getting better after them.
Hurt happens. So does healing. Keep hoping for the best.
Aside from the famous works, I really didn’t know a lot about Maya Angelou until she passed away last week. A bunch of her quotes and videos went viral right after she died. The one that made the biggest impression on me was the video of the conversation between her and Dave Chappelle. In the video, she said a couple things that were more than timely for me.
Chappelle questioned her about how she was able to live during the height of the Civil Rights Movement and continue to work towards progress without being angry. Angelou responded by saying that she WAS angry, everybody was angry, but they had to learn how to channel their anger. She explained that some marched their anger, some sang that anger and others wrote their anger. Everybody had their part in changing the social climate and they realized they could only be effective by doing what they’re good at.
That explanation was exactly what I needed to hear and I’ll explain why. Since 2010, I haven’t done anything language arts related, but all of a sudden I can’t think of very many things I would rather do than write. And I could not figure out where the insatiable desire came from or the random inspiration. When I heard that, I realized that it was because I got mad. Like, really mad. But instead of flying off the handle and doing all the things I could imagine to express that anger, I started writing.
I have journal entries. I have blogs. I have tweets. I have Facebook posts. I write when I’m happy. I write when I’m sad. I write when I’m angry. I write when I’m confused.
I had to learn how to make sense of my seemingly spiraling world and with that I determined that I would make a positive influence. My real thoughts aren’t as deep, loving and inspiring as they present themselves here, but Maya taught me how to filter my feelings for the sake of myself and those around me.
Two phrases parents and caregivers make sure their kids know can be two of the emptiest statements we ever hear. “Thank you” and “I’m sorry.”
Neither of those matter if actions don’t show gratitude or remorse, respectively.
During Manners Week my kids learned one of the most valuable life lessons they’ll ever get. “Sometimes ‘sorry’ doesn’t work.”
We put it to them like this “If you’re playing in the block area and someone comes over and knocks your tower down. That might make you angry. So they tell you they’re sorry. That’s a nice word, but does that solve the problem? What else can they do to show you they’re sorry?” Most of them agree that getting down on the floor and helping to rebuild it will make them feel better.
When you do stuff to people whether it’s on purpose or accidental saying sorry doesn’t always help. It’s a start to show that you’re apologetic, but it’s not enough. Your following actions need to align with your words. Sometimes that means stopping what you were planning to do to help the person you hurt pick up the pieces of what you destroyed.
Disclaimer: This doesn’t mean they will get over the fact that you knocked their tower down. They still might not want to play with you even if you help fix it. And that’s just something you kinda have to deal with because you were the one who caused the initial break down.