We have been trying for some time to kill the weeds in our driveway. Man, are they ever resilient! They can grow with no water and very rocky soil. They seem to fight through whatever would kill most other vegetation, and even when we think we have killed them, they come back. They never seem to die all the way down to the root.
Hope is a weed.
No matter what happens on the surface, it is very nearly impossible to kill it all the way down to the root. It springs back with the merest of opportunities.
I have had many experiences with hope- what I termed as the loss of hope. I didn’t actually lose it. It’s not like I misplaced it. It just seemed to wilt and die.
So many times.
Life with mental illness is like riding a roller coaster where the lights have been turned out. Living things do not grow and thrive in the dark, and neither does hope.
And yet…it does not die.
Along with illness comes the losses that are part of being alive, and losing people you love along the way can cause the loss of hope. The pain is so intense it makes you believe nothing will ever get better. This will always be the way of things, and hope seems, once again, to die.
But hope endures!
I don’t know how, but hope endures.
I have never seen a yard or driveway that did not have at least one weed. I have never seen a life where there was not at least one possible glimmer of hope. Just as we are guaranteed there will be days in which we stagger under the weight of our losses; the toll paid for drawing breath, loving, and simply being involved in life, we are guaranteed the possibility of hope. It is one of those great mysteries of life. It cannot be killed down to the root.
If you are one who has lost all hope, I can tell you I have been where you are, and just as I have the guarantee of being mentally ill every morning when I awake, I have the guarantee that hope endures.
Hope has become, for me, a lamp sitting on the edge of my darkness, and sometimes I sit in the dark minus the energy to reach over and pull the cord to engage it.
There are days, months, where I operate in the dark, riding the roller coaster with only shadows, a shell of my person, wishing someone would stop the ride. There are so many moments, much like this morning, when the overwhelming sense of all that is wrong in the world washes over me and I am immediately in despair screaming internally, in the dark, asking when all the sadness and awfulness will end.
But I have learned that hope is a weed that never dies, and hope is a lamp that sits near me no matter where I am. I must reach over and pull the cord. Sometimes that is the only thing I manage in the course of my day, but pulling that cord is the beginning of a new view and of healing.
My blog image shows a child in a tunnel with a balloon and a butterfly standing on the word HOPE with the shadow of “There Is.” This is the icon of my life. Once upon a time I used an image of a ship in a storm about to go over the edge of a vast waterfall. The thing is, my ship never went over the edge. Even if I had ended my life at some point, my ship would still not have gone over because I was held by Yeshua (My Rescuer).
One day I realized that I have hope. I live in a dark tunnel every day that is my mind, and no one, not even my precious husband can get into my tunnel. But I realized I have the choice to stand there with the light of hope or in the dark, and some days I do sit in the dark, but I KNOW hope is right there for me to turn on. So my image has changed on my blogs, because my understanding of my life has changed. Hope has a role to play, and I whether I water it or turn it on determines how much light I have for living, for it is always there– resilient hope.