Hope Will Circle Around Again

Friday morning, 2am, and a thunderous rain pounds on the roof of our bus. Flashes of lightning dash inside where we sleep, and, quickly following after, thunder splits my children’s dreams.

Friday morning, 2am, and Lucy wriggles her way into our bed with the two words we can never refute. “I’m scared,” she whispers, curling up under the quilt with her mother, right up against her stomach, as if wiggling her way back into the womb. Sammy isn’t far behind – he takes my place in the bed, and I am relegated to Lucy’s bunk (I actually love sleeping in those tiny bunks).

Friday morning, 2am, and I lay in the bunk, listening to the storm. Sometimes I worry about invisible things: that my writing will never reach the heights I dream for it; that I will hurt those closest to me with one bad decision; that I will reach a later age and want a redo on this choice I’ve made to live an adventurous life.

These are the thoughts that come in the middle of storms. The sentences in my brain are frantic, like the rain. The sentences in my brain are flavored by the lightning, punctuated by the thunder.

* * * * *

Friday morning, 11am, I sit in a coffee shop and write the stories about which I dream. I drink a mocha and I read the creativity of my friends and I think about how this crazy family of mine is in Tulsa, and next week we will be in Amarillo, and, the next, Pasadena.

Life is almost always good when I rest in the here. The now. The frightful days that circle in my mind during a late-night thunderstorm rarely see the light of reality. The cool mornings after storms give me hope, when the gray sky apologizes sheepishly for all the fuss it made the night before. I drink my coffee and am reminded that autumn will circle around again. Cool mornings will come after the summer, mornings that require quilts and sweaters.

The heat of summer will not last forever.

Hope will circle around again.

27 Replies to “Hope Will Circle Around Again”

  1. Keep on keeping on. If you need the nod from a friend to say “Press on, no worries, you’re doing the right thing,” here it is. Keep on, friend.

    1. Thanks, Lore. Maile and I already miss you, and we’ve only ever met you once! Good luck on your writing retreat!

  2. My friend, how much I know this feeling . . . this fear that these risks, these sacrifices will be too great for us all. . . and yet, here, now, this is what is right – for you, for me – and we trust – as you say – that the Maker of all that is right will, indeed, make it right as it is now, in this moment, this minute, this second. Thank you for this.

  3. Your words are beautiful. “The sentences in my brain are flavored by the lightning, punctuated by the thunder.” Love that.

  4. Dude. Quit. It. Each post is better than the last. We all have those sentences of doubt that floor our minds. Good thing hope is a strong tower.

  5. Shawn –

    Just finished your book, “Building a Life Out of Words” – LOVE it. Came recommended by a very close friend of mine (Tor Constantino – http://www.thedailyretort.com), and he was right on when he said publicly, “Buy it, you won’t regret it.”

    In fact, I think he understated it a little bit. I believe that this should be required reading for aspiring writers and do-what-you-love entrepreneurs alike. Wide open, honest, and a pleasure to read. Yeah. A “must-read”.

    Anyway, fwiw – and not that it pays the bills – but I greatly admire your courage and PERSEVERENCE to pursue what you dream of. And equally huge props to your wife, who sounds like an amazing and supportive spouse.

    I have one of those, too.

    And with two kids myself – son and daughter, ages 24 and 11 respectively – the adventure continues.

    Anyway, know that your voice is heard, and appreciated. I’m telling everyone about it.

    Bruce in Rochester, NY

      1. BTW, I completely agree with the other commenters: your writing is fabulous – very creative and a pleasure to read. Keep it up!


  6. “The cool mornings after storms give me hope, when the gray sky apologizes sheepishly for all the fuss it made the night before.”
    Once again Shawn, you make ordinary things come alive. Fantastic.

  7. “…when the gray sky apologizes sheepishly for all the fuss it made the night before.” Lovely personification to reveal your sense of having overcome. I hope you’ll never regret this time; it seems to be forming in you such a strong, steady voice.

  8. One of the most important things I’ve had to learn is that bed time is time to go to bed, to force my mind to shut down. Otherwise, worries attack and keep me up all night. Ray Hollenbach often reminds me that God’s mercies are new every morning, and that just about knocks me over with how wonderful that is.

  9. “… that I will hurt those closest to me with one bad decision.” Love how you just tossed one of my greatest fears in the middle there like a grenade. Yes to this. Yes to all of it. Beautiful all the way around. I’m new here, but I’ll be back.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Amanda. Growing up, I was always told by my parents that one of the most important things was making the right choice. And I agree with that. But I think it’s also instilled in me a fear of making the wrong one. A really wrong one.

  10. I’m saying ‘amen’ to your post as well as to the comments.

    Like Amanda says, that worry ‘that I will hurt those closest to me with one bad decision’ is a real fear. But I can tell you from experience (I tried an entreprenuerial startup in the mid-90’s and it went glowingly… much like a fiery plane crash), it wasn’t the financial wreckage that ‘hurt those closest to me’, it was the times that I let the stress and strain get the better of me and I took it out on those around me. Keep your focus on what God requires of you (ie, Micah 6:8’s ‘do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God’) rather than on worldly expectations or your own expectation of what ‘success’ will look like, and you’re going to be fine.

    I’ll also echo what Leanne said about regrets with a quote from an unknown source: No man on his death bed says ‘I wish I would have spent more time at the office’. You’re making a great life for yourself and your family. God’s going to bless it in the ways that matter most.

  11. Shawn, in a lot of ways I wish I were you on the road writing and traveling. I’m sure in a lot of ways you wish you were me with a steady paycheck and not driving all over. I think the key fact I need to realize is God has us where He does right now for a reason and I need to make the most of it.

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