Hope isn’t always an easy thing, and it doesn’t always feel very natural. But I’m learning that hope is more than a feeling (more than a feeeeeelingg…) – it’s a choice, a deliberate commitment, like exercise, or saving your money instead of spending it. It’s the wiser, healthier decision – the one that will bring the biggest payoff, even when it doesn’t feel like it at the time.
Recently, I’ve experienced discouragement and disappointment and hurt – to the point that I’ve stopped hoping for anything, because hoping hasn’t felt easy. I’ve snuggled up with loneliness, curled my back to hopelessness, and taken comfort in the company of emptiness because it’s what has felt most real. Hope hasn’t felt real – it’s felt imaginary, like playing pretend, like inventing some mythical creature and expecting it to materialize in front of me.
But the rejection of hope is actually to my detriment. It makes me an ugly person, a bitter person, one with walls and suspicions and frown lines. And moreover, as a Christian, I am called to hope, commanded to hope, even when it feels dangerous because of the possibility of pain and disappointment.
It might get cold, and all of our leaves may fall off, and our branches may crack – but hope is trusting that our roots will hold, and spring is going to come, and something is going to bloom again.
It’s just that what blooms might not be what we’re expecting.