Author: Gwen N Mlondobozi
I have a choice to make... what will I choose, Hope or Hopelessness?
My heart is sick because, as another year creeps in, my hope is deferred. I almost do not want to write my list of hopes for 2018, just to avoid disappointment and heartache. I’d just rather not hope; rather not jump in with faith and dreams; rather just live in the reality of ‘life is hard’ and ‘failure is more evident than success’. I will lose more things, more people, I will grow old, and my life will dwindle into an abyss of shame, self-pity, and HOPELESSNESS.
My only constant is that the sun will rise and set every day.
I have had the same song ringing in my head for a week now – it’s called ‘Weeping' by Dan Heymann, and one of the lines in the song goes, ‘It wasn't roaring, it was weeping'. As women, we fight for our jobs, our families, our health, our children, our husbands, our boyfriends, our friends. We put on superhero suits, which fit us well and people around us can see it and agree. So, we keep up the façade, even when we are not strong and only those who care enough to know can see we aren't always roaring - we are weeping.
We go through difficult times but we always show up with a smile.
Twenty seventeen was rough. I feel it in the tension build-up in my shoulders, yet the sun rises and sets every day, I make it through a storm and wonder how I did. I have cried, kicking and screaming, begging the Lord to change certain situations. I have often drawn a line in the sand and said, ‘no more!’, and in a moment of pure foolishness skipped back over that line. The past year left a bitter taste in my mouth. My thoughts and sentiments to 2017 are: “I'm glad it's over”, with 2018 I'm going in cautiously and shyly, with an experience badge called ‘2017’, yet not timidly, and surprisingly, not anxious.
Tough times have drawn me closer to the Lord. I am stronger, my skin is a bit thicker, although my heart is softer, because I cry more.
I am reminded of Naomi, Ruth's mother-in-law, when she lost her husband and wept. Ten years later she lost her two sons and wept even more. I think in God's gracious love he gave her Ruth, a daughter who loved her and chose to cling to her, even after she asked Ruth to return home to her family.
Ruth 1:16-17 (NIV)
‘But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely if even death separates you and me."’
Ruth was hope for Naomi in the midst of a storm. I wonder what would have become of Naomi had Ruth left?
I always seem to find hope in stories; there is gloom, pain, and suffering, but there is hope - it's alive. Sometimes it's a dim flicker and sometimes it’s a roaring fire, but it's alive. It was there in the garden of Gethsemane, as Jesus prayed with his disciples the night before he was to be crucified. It was there in the heart of a loving father who sought out Jesus to bring his DEAD daughter to LIFE. It was with the woman who said: ‘If I can only touch His garment I will be healed’. It was in Hannah's prayer as she prayed for a child.
Hope. It is everywhere - not always in large, visible moments. I hardly ever see it in the storm, yet in hindsight I see it.
I wonder if in the moment of despair Naomi saw any hope in her situation?
Hope. The stuff that keeps me going, when the rubber has hit the road and tension in my neck has turned into a migraine, it is hope I wish to seek and find.
So, what do I choose, I choose HOPE again because it’s worth it every time.
All the experiences, all the pain, they taught me a lot and I will never forget 2017. Better years may come, worse years may come, but in hope, I tread forward.
I dive, I soar, I fly in Hope.
I will write my list of dreams for 2018. I know my heart is fickle and often cannot be trusted but, just as the sun rises and sets every day, three things remain: FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE.
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