Sunday, March 4, 2012
I’ve always thought of HOPE as JOY’s synonym or perhaps a close cousin.
Being called to HOPE-fullness means being of good cheer. Optimistic. Unfazed by the potential for pain. Able to see the half-full glass. Willing to celebrate the silver lining, no matter how delicate its glimmer.
My attempts at such HOPE are, at best, meager. Paltry. Characterized by less-than-JOY.
Maybe because someone forgot to say this:
A call to HOPE is a call to WAIT
for a need to be met;
for a dream to be realized;
for a goal to be accomplished;
for a destination to be reached.
And a call to WAIT is a call to be PATIENT.
When I imagine the face of patience, I see a smile both gentle and understanding. I think of warmth. I think of certainty.
The patient face I envision reflects no acquaintance with pain.
(Patience. So lovely to encounter in others. So difficult to demonstrate myself.)
Yet its Latin root, “pati,” doesn’t reference gentleness, or warmth, or certainty.
To be patient is to be familiar with PAIN.
Which is what we taste when we are called to WAIT; asked to drink deeply from the cup of incompleteness; summoned to lean into the life of not-yet.
One day, all this will be eclipsed by JOY when the need is finally met, the dream is finally realized, the goal is finally accomplished, the destination is finally reached.
One day, we’ll no longer need to HOPE, or to WAIT, or to taste the pain of PATIENCE.
The stretch of not-yet can be lonely and frightening. But knowing there are others who are waiting for completion can make the journey less daunting. And lifting up the hopes of others who are still on-the-way can give purpose to our waiting.
So, if you like, name your hope below, knowing that I'll join you in praying for the joy that comes will hope's fulfillment.