That perches in the soul – And sings the tune without the words – And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard – And sore must be the storm – That could abash the little Bird That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land – And on the strangest Sea – Yet – never – in Extremity, It asked a crumb – of me. – Emily Dickinson
So I’ve been on a poetry kick and decided to google best poems and read a couple that popped up. Interesting how they all seemed to have the same thought – hope, purpose, choices. Oh, that word “hope.” I don’t know about you, but that is a scary word. It holds so much and yet promises so little. When I think about the word “hope,” I feel bad. And then I got to thinking, why does that make me feel bad? It’s because every time I think of the word, I think of false hope. You’re going to be fine, you’re child is going to be fine, everything is going to be fine. And all I can do is scream in my head – No! It’s actually not. See, if our hope is in ourselves, in our doings – it is false hope. The only hope that is real and true is from God.
So that made me think even more about hope, but in a different way. When I think about God and hope, the other word that kept popping into my head was faith. You can’t have hope without faith and you can’t have faith without hope. Hear me out. If you have hope, you must have faith in something greater than yourself, because I don’t know about you, but most of the time I am barely surviving. And if you have faith, you must have hope that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, that there is a meaning to your existence (and ultimate hardships). What I realized is that I have little faith and therefore, ultimately, little hope. And that made me pretty sad. I’ve been thinking lately about some ugly truths about myself and that’s one of them.
So I am trying to find hope and faith. I’ve been reading the book of Job, which talks about a good man – a Godly man. How God boasted to Satan about how great a man he was and Satan said it’s only because his life is blessed. Of course he can be good and pure because his life has been easy, he has everything anyone could ask for. But take that all away, and see what kind of man he really is – that he would ultimately turn and curse God. So God let Satan do anything he wanted, but told him to spare his life. His friends all tell him he must have done something wrong to have all taken away, that misfortune only follows from evil doings, and that he must seek God’s favor. Job struggles with the same questions I have asked myself for quite sometime – why do good things happen to bad people and why do bad things happen to good people?
But God never really answers the question, not really. Because there isn’t an answer that we/I could understand. Our views are so small, we have no idea what the future holds and what our struggles mean, but God does. And that I can have hope/faith in. A God that knew my path from the day I was conceived, that has prepared me for this life, and continues to prepare me for what’s ahead. How? Because when I look back, it all makes sense. Everything in my life so far was leading me to this moment – to be Carter’s mom. Yes, I’m a wife and a daughter and a pharmacist and a sister and an aunt and a friend and I could go on and on. But when I think about my purpose, the only one that comes to mind – being his mom. And doing the best job I can do. Nothing else has mattered so much.
So back to my poetry kick. There is one more poem I would like to share with you that I have read everyday since I found it. It gives me hope that my hardships mean something. That maybe I can help someone else who might be following a similar path. Not heal their child, not tell them all the amazing therapies I’ve done, or the life-changing medication/supplements/diets I’ve discovered – but give them something better. Something that will change their whole lives if they let it. Someone to lean on when your heart is so broken you can barely breath and your sorrow comes at a pace your tears can’t keep up. Someone to turn to when your stuck in the valley and the mountains seem insurmountable. Someone who will help you find joy even when your circumstances would say otherwise. God. Lean on Him. Give Him your sorrows and heartaches and brokenness. He will happily carry your burdens and give you peace. I know, I’ve been there.
“A Psalm of Life” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Tell me not, in mournful numbers, Life is but an empty dream! For the soul is dead that slumbers, And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest! And the grave is not its goal; Dust thou art, to dust returnest, Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow, Is our destined end or way; But to act, that each tomorrow Find us farther than today.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting, And our hearts, though stout and brave, Still, like muffled drums, are beating Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world’s broad field of battle, In the bivouac of Life, Be not like dumb, driven cattle! Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant! Let the dead Past bury its dead! Act,-act in the living Present! Heart within, and God o’erhead.
Lives of great men all remind us We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time;-
Let us, then, be up and doing, With a heart for any fate; Still achieving, still pursuing, Learn to labor and to wait.