So, let’s start with two contrasting truths:
I’m a Believer. And I’ve lived most of my life without hope for the future.
I have no technical or theological theory for how these two things go together. The great Christian speakers and writers tell me they can’t exist simultaneously, in a saved person. Well. Hold my root beer, because I did it, for the better part of my life. Perhaps they’re right and I wasn’t saved, or something. Anyways.
Living without hope. What does it look like? Getting up in the morning is hard. Going to bed at a reasonable hour is nigh impossible. Pursuing things you love or are good at feels pointless at best, and like an idiotic play for disappointment on really bad days. Though you claim to have these “goal” things, motivation and motivational videos don’t push you towards goals; they just get you to finish the day’s work. You wait for the weekends, only to discover that you’re as exhausted on Sunday night, as you were on Saturday morning. And, worst of all, you didn’t even do much. Your threshold for uncertainty, loose ends and expectations is strikingly low (if I had 3+ texts, I would feel overwhelmed). You think people think you have it together–whether or not this is true, is besides the point; it’s all about the self-imposed pressure–and you’re not sure how to tap the glass, without totally shattering the person you think they think you are. Perhaps there is no way to do this. So you curl up with tea and keep writing the book you’ve been writing for fourteen years, with
little no intention of finishing it. Worship and church are more an escape from yourself than reveling in Him. You fall back to earth and the landing never gets easier. Feeling sad isn’t just feeling sad, it’s a spiraling maze of grief.
You are confused. Why is life such a slog and how long do you have to do it for? You Google the average lifespan of an American citizen. The answer doesn’t encourage you (which makes you feel worse, because you have it so good compared to the rest of the world). Forgoing a terrible accident, you are in it for the long haul.
But my life is completely different today than it was, even two months ago.
I sometimes burst out in tears, when I think of the dark thoughts that used to assail my nights and, often, my days. On some drives, I smile-cry for joy on the road. I am truly excited about what is on my calendar. And I have a calendar that reaches all the way to December 2019. No, I’m not getting up as early as I would like, but getting up feels closer to a reward than ever. I’m present in my spiritual life, and it feeds my soul. I am so thankful, for so many things.
One thing that drives me absolutely bonkers, is when I see the evidence of a transformed life, but none of the steps that got someone there! Doesn’t anyone keep a personal-development diary they’re willing to share these days?! The great diarists of the last century are very-very-much-lacking. Yes, I know, it’s none of my business what people choose to share. I am aware of this, and of how entitled I sound. But! A little voice said to me, the other day: “Maybe someone else is going through the same thing. You never know. Sit down. Hash it out.”
And so, here we are. This series will be, to the best of my memory and journal notes and ability, my long path to discovering the power of hope.