It’s a quiet Sunday morning in Venice, Florida, and I’m in our hotel room. The air conditioning sends a steady hum of cool air through the room. The narrow crack in the curtain reveals a low, gray sky. In the neighboring room, an ongoing spate of cartoons babysits the kids. Maile isn’t here – she made the short walk to the workout room just down the hall. It’s a beautifully slow start to another day, and it leaves me feeling contemplative, considering 2014.
2013 was a very good year for us, by just about any measure of a year. The problem with having a good year after a series of very challenging years, especially for an analytical person like myself, is that I stare at the very thin threads that keep us from plummeting back into that space of heartache or disappointment. I find myself thinking, Yes, we had one good year, but…
I have three options when it comes to how I view my unfolding life. I can look at the unknown future and allow uncertainty to fill me with dread at all the horrible things that could happen. Another option would be to face the New Year with a sense of inevitability, to believe that nothing can ever really change.
The third option is to choose hope.
I can choose to believe, no matter how things appear, no matter how I feel, no matter what the “facts” are, that the insurmountable walls will finally crumble this year, that broken relationships will be restored, that those who I love will somehow find health, that I will see the “goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”
But choosing hope is difficult because it involves opening myself up instead of closing myself off. Hope requires vulnerability. It insists that we get back up, no matter how many times we’ve already fallen. To live in a place of hope means to live in a place where pain, should it come, finds us defenseless, with our hands down at our sides, our most sensitive areas unguarded.
But this is also the wonderful thing about hope, because living life in an unguarded way automatically postures us to see the beauty we may have previously overlooked. You can’t receive anything with a closed fist. Except maybe a black eye.
I take a deep breath. I exhale slowly. I take another deep breath. Then I choose hope.