On Hope And Rain and Miracles

I believe in miracles.

(Hi there! Yes, it’s been about a billion years since I’ve written anything here. A big shout out to everyone still hanging in there with me and reading this, thank you! I said last time–I think–I was going a bit quiet because I needed to finish the rewrites on my novel, and I wrote “the end” about an hour ago now, so maybe it’s time. Anyway, hello!)

I’ve not ever had a problem with faith, or with waiting in ridiculous hope for things that seem impossible. I have a gift, and that gift is believing in impossible things.

Mostly.

But even my faith has been tested of late. Not in an I-don’t-know-what-I-think-about-God-any-more kind of way, but in that getting-older sense of life isn’t infinite, not here, and sometimes dreams do have to die, and sometimes people do have to die, and that’s the way of it really, even though we spend our childhoods believing in the miraculous infiniteness of our own selves, our own potential, our own existence.

We grow old. We grow up.

Sometimes we don’t see the things we’ve believed in. Sometimes prayers don’t get answered. And sometimes the answer is “no”. Sometimes it’s “wait”, but the waiting is endless.

Hope is hard.

Don’t get me wrong, the four impossible things I’ve believed before breakfast aren’t life and death matters, no matter how much they break my heart. I am fine, we are fine, we are all fine. So many of my friends aren’t fine though, not right now, and this post is for them, to say only one thing–even if I am going about it in a long and round-about way–to say that I Believe In Miracles.

I said a prayer the other night. Don’t get me wrong, I do do this praying thing fairly regularly, but this one the other night, lying, for some reason, on my older son’s bottom bunk, was different. It wasn’t at all faith-filled or hopeful, it was just plain honest. Dear God. This is my impossible situation. It breaks my heart. I can’t ever see any way of it changing. And my friends with the broken hearts and the broken lives who need miracles too? Remember them? Please help us all. Amen.

That was it.

Funnily, I felt better. Sometimes, apparently, it’s almost as nice to be honest as it is to be hopeful. I didn’t think too much about it any more, but having said it felt good. Having acknowledged that I could not achieve any kind of miracle felt good. Having acknowledged my hope-lessness felt good, too.

And then, the next day, the first little miracle happened.

I won’t tell you about it, and even if I did explain the whole situation and the heartbreak and the hopelessness you probably wouldn’t understand it, not like I do, so I won’t try here. But what happened was a miracle, all the same, and as unexpected and as hope-filled as any miracle can be.

There’s this story in the Bible, in the Old Testament, where there was this phenomenal drought, and it hadn’t rained in just about forever, and this prophet guy (probably Elijah, but it could have been his buddy Elisha) prayed for rain. He prayed and he prayed, and then after some kind of eternity he saw this tiniest, teeniest little cloud on the horizon, and he legs it as fast as he can back to…oh, whoever it was…and he says this, this most important thing ever: “RUN! RUUUUUUN!!!! BECAUSE THE RAIN IS GOING TO OVERTAKE YOU!”

It makes me cry, that bit. Because it did.

I’m praying for a number of friends today, all needing miracles in a rain that overtakes them. I’ve seen the itty-bitty raincloud, and right now I’m filled with hope.

I believe in miracles. I believe in the power of hope, and in impossible things before breakfast. And today, if you need something impossible in the face of doubt, I will believe for a miracle for you, too.

A little bit of honesty never went astray

There seems to be a lot going on at the moment around me. Not just the usual stuff, Christmas and shopping and end of school and general December madness, but big stuff. Death, illness, uncertainty. Tragedies that break my heart, that I have no easy answers for, especially when we’ve experienced the opposite–such blessing and abundance around us. I have friends who are hurting. There are no easy answers, or if there are, the answer is “sometimes things just suck”.

Where’s the hope and joy and peace when people you love are being ripped from you?

Where’s the blessing of the virgin birth and the miracle of baby Jesus when there are children left without parents, and parents left without children? How do you “ho ho ho” when it takes all your strength to get out of bed in the morning and make breakfast without breaking down again?

I tried to put on some Christmas music yesterday. Took it off again. Put on something less hopeful, less joyous.

So this morning, this post is for those friends, the ones for whom life is making no sense at Christmas. The ones whose trees are shrouded in grief. The ones who are struggling to wrap presents because everything seems so futile. This is my little attempt to share in your sorrows, and, instead of offering platitudes of “God is with you, go and be well”, sitting in the dirt with you for a few minutes and saying “I understand”.

Here is my small offering. It’s the one part of the Bible I refused to read for a number of years when I was younger: Psalm 22. The one right before the one that everybody knows.

“God, God . . . my God! Why did you dump me miles from nowhere? Doubled up with pain, I call to God all the day long. No answer. Nothing. I keep at it all night, tossing and turning. And you! Are you indifferent, above it all, leaning back on the cushions of Israel’s praise? We know you were there for our parents: they cried for your help and you gave it; they trusted and lived a good life. And here I am, a nothing—an earthworm, something to step on, to squash. Everyone pokes fun at me; they make faces at me, they shake their heads: “Let’s see how God handles this one; since God likes him so much, let him help him!” (that’s from the translation called The Message, by the way).

Life can suck. And it can suck especially when Christmas is just around the corner. If it sucks for you today, I just want to let you know that I hear you. It’s okay to be honest about how you’re really feeling. Hang in there, okay?