The Gift Of Hope
We whittled away the first night of this chemo round sipping tea on the deck, Hope running up to us in an occasional detour from her laps around the lawn. I knew I was eeking out the last few hours or normal that I would have for some time.
I had asked this friend to come sit with me as I continued to try to understand why some prayers are answered while others feel ignored. I needed her particular experience with long waits and desires burned deep into her heart. I needed to hear how she had survived.
In sharing her story with me, she brought up the fact that God gives us a very special gift - the gift of hope. The little flame that continues to flicker - that holds vigil for our longings and dreams well after we start to lose faith that they will ever come to fruition.
* * *
Today is day 5 of chemo week. I've decided that this is the day where hope feels the smallest. My body is tired. I'm both nauseated and achy; I get winded going up one flight of stairs; I want to sleep all.the.time. I am too far into this round to remember that it felt different for awhile, but there is too much time left in this round to feel like its almost over.
Today is also day 5 of chemo week during a holiday weekend. I didn't think it would matter all that much, but it does. Before we had to add a week, I should have been feeling okay this weekend. Friends and I had planned to celebrate the half way point being crossed together at the river this weekend. They are there. I'm home. Its lonely.
I shouldn't look at Instagram or Facebook on days like today, but I do. And I am reminded that cancer doesn't live with everyone else the way it does with me and Hope. Just a few months ago, that was me. But now its here. Everyday. And I wish like anything that just for one day I could leave it behind and go about my day, like so many other people can.
I wonder how long it will be until I feel like I can do that again.
I wonder if it will ever feel that way again.
* * *
I feel like I've been praying some of the same prayers for years. Making the same wishes.
My prayers have shifted recently, from asking God to bring me the things I long for - a partner and a family - to asking him to remove these desires from my heart if they aren't His will for me. At the same time, I've asked Him to please keep hope for them alive in my heart, even if just a flicker, if those things are, in fact, His will.
So far, the flicker remains. Even on days when I try on my own to cast the hope out of my heart - when it feels to painful to keep holding onto it. Try as I might to turn the light out, the flicker remains.
The gift of hope.
* * *
The next day, hours after my friend had left, I sat quietly watching Hope play around my feet. Her sweet puppy paws landing on my lap periodically, her tongue finding my ears. And it struck me that she is the perfect dog for me. Her sensitive disposition and affectionate nature, her curly brown hair and sweet eyes. Nothing about Hope is what I would have thought to ask for, but everything about her is what I need.
And then I remembered just as quickly, that amid all the broken hopes and dreams that made up my vision board for this year is a puppy. He sits among all the representations of a family that I included there. He looks nothing like Hope.
I have wanted a dog for years. I have come very close to adopting more than one, only to have something hold me back. Something never felt right. Until I held Hope. And I knew she was the one. I have waited years and years for her. And now shes here. When I least expected her. When I most needed her.
Just when I needed it most, God sent little Hope to keep that glimmer of hope alive for all those other dreams.