looking through me

wander or wonder

I buried myself in spreadsheets at work—grateful for a looming deadline—to distract from the barrage of the news hitting ever closer to home.

But as I left the busyness of business behind, the quiet of the commute betrayed me. My mind looped in hopeless circles.

A few weeks ago, I downloaded the newest release of one of my favorite groups, but I hadn’t listened to it enough to sing along yet. So I turned it on as I drove and focused hard on the lyrics.

A song came on about sorrow and chaos. It felt all too appropriate, but I couldn’t quite make out the chorus. Was it “but I know, I know / You remain the same / even in, even in / my wandering” or “but I know, I know / You remain the same / even in, even in / my wondering?”

One little vowel makes such a big difference. I might not be wandering right now, but, oh, I am wondering.

I wonder . . .
Why?
What if?
Why now?
If not now, when?
How long?
Why her (or him or them or us)?
Why not her (or him or them or us)?
To what end?
Does it matter?

I don’t know. All the wondering in the world won’t soothe the sorrows or still the chaos. “But I know, I know / You remain the same.”

And I hold on to that unchanging Hope in the wondering . . . and wandering.

 


I wrote this one year ago today. I have the same annual deadline this week, and once again I find myself grateful for the distraction and dismayed by the barrage of news that one year later has only gotten worse . . . and closer to home. But I’m still listening to that album on repeat, and Hope remains unchanged.

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hope holds

Hope is a hazy word. I see it, and then I don’t.

I reach for it, and the vapor trails away.

For years, the more I tried to get a grip on it, the more it seemed like the tail of a balloon dipping and weaving ahead of me. Even if I could catch it, at best it could pull me a few inches—maybe a few feet—off the ground. It could give me a hint of perspective. It could give my legs a few seconds of reprieve.

But hope was never enough to carry me. It couldn’t sustain my weight. The string slipped out of my hand, I thudded back to reality, and the balloon bobbed ahead of me again. I had to hustle to keep it in sight, let alone get a hand on it.

Hope always seemed to be “out there” or “up there,” but what if hope is “down there”?

What if hope is the anchor or—even better—the solid seabed into which the anchor sinks?

Maybe hope is less about getting above despair and more about being rooted in the Immovable as life’s storms rage.

Perhaps hope is less escape and more endurance.

When the anchor is sure, though the waves crash and threaten to swamp me, I am not lost. The squalls leave me battered and bruised, wet and chilled, weak in the knee and sick to my stomach; yet, I am secure.

The clouds clear, and I have not drifted. Hope remains. I remain.

Hope isn’t what I hold onto but what—or Who—holds onto me.

 

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