Wouldn’t it be nice if I could hope for you only and fully that all your days be merry and your nights be bright and your path be smooth and the sun shine gently on your face? I do hope the road rises to meet you and that you find joy in every relationship and peace on all sides but I’m sorry, I also have other, deeper hopes. I want so much more than smiles and ease and comfort for you, and for me.
And so my highest hope for you is that when your days are far from merry you will sense a deep and abiding presence, holding your head above water and keeping your legs from crumbling beneath you. My hope is that when the plans you so carefully lay are shattered, you will release them gently and walk into the unknown with courage.
My hope for you is that when your nights are darker than shadow, darker than black holes, darker than nightmares, the candles of those who love you will burn ever brighter and bathe you in their light. May the light be warm, welcoming, enveloping. When your nights are dark my hope is that you will be convinced morning is coming, even if you cannot see its pink and amber glow. May you trust its arrival because you have seen morning come before, because there is a promise.
My hope for you is that when your path is littered with potholes and boulders, when the hill is steep and the valley plunges, that you will remember those who have walked before you and that you will gather strength from their histories, from that great cloud of witnesses. My hope for you on the long, staggering journey is that though you may grow weary and may feel the pierce of thorns and the sting of blisters and burning thirst, that you will not turn back, that you will fix your eyes on the prize and press onward.
My hope for you is that when the sun is hidden behind a cloud and the sky is Minnesota-January gray and the wind is fierce against you and the rain pelts like needles, that you will have the courage to be vulnerable and honest. My hope is that you will not suffer alone but will seek the help and support and community you need, that you will ask for an umbrella and that you will stand beneath it, a friend holding it for you with one hand and with the other hand, holding you.
I hope these things for you and I hope them for me. This year is fresh but already my knees tremble and the waters threaten to submerge, fire rages on all sides and I am walking through it. Or rather, He is taking me through it. Already my days lack a vital sense of ‘merry’ and already shadows loom over my nights. Already there are dips and rises and the journey seems longer than I want to bear. Already a storm gathers on the horizon.
And already there have been many on this road before me, already I feel buoyed. Already I see the glow of morning coming and already I am part of a community. A community of the hope-filled. Not the naïve, not the never-wounded, not the strength-fakers. The scarred and weary, the stumblers and bumblers, the faithful and the hope-filled.
And so, my hope for you is that you will enter this community, be buoyed by the hope you find here, and that we will burn bright together, in the light of the One who is our strong, eternal Hope.
Happy, hopeful 2015. What are you hoping for this year?
*this was originally published as I Want More Than Comfort For You, at SheLoves Magazine. It has been slightly edited for A Life Overseas.
*photo via unsplash by Jason Long