I find that when I’m paying attention, a theme tends to emerge from my conversations, experiences, and readings. It’s like God keeps giving me opportunities to really get it. This week’s theme seems to be choosing hope. Of course, every platitude can be misplaced or misused. There is absolutely a time and a place for sorrow, anger, frustration, and all the rest. As Alexander so brilliantly reminds us, there are indeed terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. Words of genius!
Yet, I’m always amazed at how often I am faced with an opportunity to choose to see hope or choose to see despair. I can’t tell you how many times the boys have woken up super crank and we’ve had to have a little heart to heart about choosing happiness. Generally, it begins, “Matty, you can choose to have a good day or you can choose to have a not so good day. It’s up to you.” As you can imagine, it’s a popular phrase in our house as the morning routine of getting off to school can often start with lots of moaning, groaning, and whining. I’m sure this sort of thing never happens in your house…
Isn’t it true, though? Our attitude and willingness to see hope in certain situations can change our minds, hearts, actions, and experiences. Though many things in life are out of our control, we can choose to see the good of our days or wallow in everything that goes wrong. Usually, it is in the hope where God working.
This week I had a chance to talk and pray with a young mom drowning in the worries of caring for her kids, managing an unhealthy marriage, helping her sick mom, and trying to find work. She was completely overwhelmed and paralyzed with worry. I prayed that God would give me the words to guide her. What came to me was this idea of choice. She couldn’t change a lot about her current situation. Yet, it seemed to me that I could offer her the solace of my thoughts about choice. She could choose to sit in her worries or she could choose to work proactively towards health. I’m not sure if my words helped at all. Usually it is our presence with hurting people and not our words that do the helping. But, it seems like the idea of choice and the control she had to choose to see hope offered her a bit of direction and the idea that things could get better.
Later that afternoon it was me who needed to choose hope. After an afternoon of going over budgets, I too was feeling overwhelmed. But, wouldn’t you know, two beautiful little sisters came bounding up to me in the hallway. They were so excited to show me they knew The Lord’s Prayer and, for effect, recited the entire prayer in unison right in the middle of the hallway. And there it was…the reminder to choose hope. It was as if God was saying, “Monique…It isn’t about the numbers at all. Choose to see what I am doing. Choose hope.” I started to cry.
May the choice of hope be an encouragement for you to look for the ways God is bringing healing, wholeness, and redemption to the broken places in our lives. May we all learn to look for and see hope, happiness, and half-fullness in all we do.