[ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kaylee was raised in a small-town Lutheran church and married into the Church of Christ family. She and her husband have an (almost) two-year-old son. Kaylee obtained her Social Work degree in 2013 and doesn’t write much now that essays are in her past!]
Hope has always really resonated with me. It is my namesake – Kaylee Hope Elford. So you could say that I’ve sought out hope most of my life.
A friend of mine makes jewelry and she had a display set up at a local market. I saw a black bracelet there among all the others full of colour. It had one solitary bead on it with the word ‘hope’ inscribed. As I contemplated this purchase, I said to my friend, the jewelry maker, ‘I’m a sucker for hope’ – and she responded ‘Ya, me too.’
She had lost her son in a tragic farming accident just months before that and this was her first major outing since. I can only sit and imagine how hope plays a giant part of her everyday life now – waiting in hope for Christ’s coming and hoping that her son will be there waiting for her. Hope resonates with her. Hope stings her eyes and heart in season’s like Advent, on day’s like Mother’s Day. She lives HOPE.
At work, I inquire with potential caregivers about their personal lives and then am supposed to assess whether or not they would be ‘appropriate’ to raise children who find themselves in the foster care world. I have a cubicle I sit at Monday to Friday (insert Dilbert jokes here). Sitting beside me in my cubicle is a home decor piece I bought during the Advent season one year, when I still had time to do things like shop for home decor. The decoration is surrounded by flowers, two real, one fake – ya know, to try and brighten up my ‘cube’. To bring ‘hope’ to a hard job, to inspire hope in the people around me there. And to be able to use the phrase ‘it is my middle name after all’.
But as I think about this, hope is really often surrounded by dark. By despair. By broken stuff. Do you think of hope when the summer sun is warming your skin, the housework is done, your family is peacefully playing together and life is all that you had wanted it to be? Not me – I am thankful for those times – but not hopeful in them.
I am hopeful when I hear of children growing up in abusive homes, when someone at work uses the all too hurtful phrase “no one wants these kids anyways” – caused by the giant monster known as ‘compassion fatigue’. I think that’s all I have in those times – hope. Hope for a rescue, hope for compassion and diligence.
I’m not going to fill this reading with passages about hope from the Bible – you probably know them better than me. But I am going to try and convey to you the feeling I have inside of my gut and inside of my heart when I think about all the gifts we have received from God; things I can’t touch tangibly, but can feel.
Richard touched on this in his blog submission – hope isn’t “Gee, I hope my car starts” or “Man, I hope there is a good special on for lunch today – I’m starving” (no, you’re not starving). The hope we have in Christ, as Christians, is a gut-wrenching, unfathomable, tear-jerking LOVE. Our Saviour is the only one who can right all the yuckiness in this world. Only He can bring peace to the war-torn countries and Facebook spats. Only He can redeem us from yelling at our children or drinking too much that night.
We are surrounded by dark. By despair. By broken stuff. And in all of this, we have HOPE.