FixedonHope

against all hope, believe.

Category: Uncategorized

Renewal.

Something inside me is coming alive again.

It’s November 30th and the wind bites as leaves are whisked to and fro around me, tumbling along the side of the street like a Solstice dance. I can feel Winter approaching, the season most associated with death, strangely bringing new life to my body. There’s a spring in my step I have not had in months, years, and in my mind’s eye I see a rush of new cells cascading through my veins, remaking themselves healthier, stronger. They say the body regenerates itself every seven years, though scientific validity of this claim is arguable. What is known, however, is that various cells of the body do in fact regenerate in specified intervals. The liver, for example, is said to regenerate every six weeks and the skin every thirty-five days. To quote one of my favorite authors, “you are not who you once were,” even several months ago. Continue reading

Shattered.

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Splat. Contact is made, glass shatters, contents spill over onto freshly mopped floors. One compounding frustration after another and this is the icing on the cake. Boom. Full gallon-sized jar of sauerkraut freshly opened, one month fermenting and hours spent preparing, out of my hands and onto the floor; an incredible mess of a situation right at my feet. Already on edge from a thousand little annoyances that shouldn’t elicit reaction and I feel the energy rise within me; that demon I’ve long stifled gritting its teeth and ready to surface at any moment, a bubbling caldron waiting to erupt. But no, not yet. I’ve conquered you, you ugly fiend called anger. I’ve better ways to deal with this string of irritations. Continue reading

Living joyfully amidst trials

It’s 5:27pm, and the world is alive with sounds, smells, laughter, barking, barbecues lit, and music playing. For many, this hour, this moment, is full of the people they love, the friendships they cherish, and memories just beginning to be made. For many this is just another beautiful weekend crowning a long, but productive workweek; the sweet satisfaction of rest and respite after all their labor. For others, this hour could be anything but sweet. For others this is just another day without a husband by their side or father for their children to look up to. It is just another day without enough food, a day without freedom, a day without love, a day without hope, a day without direction. This seemingly beautiful Saturday night may in fact be just like any other that passes with tears, with sorrow, with less than full joy in the absence of all that could be or the lack of what is.

I think we can all agree, the world is a complex place, fraught with sadness, disappointment, catastrophe, despair, abuse, injustice, broken dreams, broken lives, broken promises, broken people, hurt, wrongdoing, disease, pain, and on and on it goes. For those who have faith in God remember that even Jesus said, “in this world you will have trouble.” Yet, even in all that this life cannot promise or deliver, we can still find joy in the midst of our circumstances. Even in your failing health, failing marriage, or failing dreams, you can still hold onto and relish the good that is, and have confident expectation of better to come. Yes, even in the most despairing, unfair, and disadvantageous of circumstances you can still find reason to be joyful and even enjoy this life God has given.

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The dilemma of validation & the solution of acceptance.

Validation. Most all of us seek it in one form or another, whether it be from our spouse, our parents, our relatives, our family, our friends, the opposite sex, the same sex, our superiors at work, our peers, people we want to impress, people we deem more sophisticated than us, and so on and so forth. We run after approval, like a dog chasing after a ball, frenetically at times. Though our tongue isn’t flopping to and fro outside half of our mouth and drool being splattered across our face like it might that golden retriever fetching after the green tennie that his master has just thrown, we often portray similar responses when eyeing the object of acquisition, which could be anything from that nod of the head, that pat on the back, that sympathizing look and gesture or those reassuring words.

And we do all this for what end? What is really at the core of all this fumbling, frantic, insatiable quest for others to validate who we are or what we are or even where we are? Why such desire and need to be validated by others and dare I say, even ourselves? Continue reading

Strong enough to be weak.

strength

noun \ˈstreŋ(k)th, ˈstren(t)th\

Simple Definition of strength

  • : the quality or state of being physically strong

  • : the ability to resist being moved or broken by a force

  • : the quality that allows someone to deal with problems in a determined and effective way

Strength. For as long as I can remember I have valued this trait and strived to possess its attributes. Before I fully knew what this word meant, I instinctively knew that it was an inherent part of my character. Passed down from a first generation immigrant father, strength was something that was held in high esteem in my household and upbringing. It was the standard that all of my performances and struggles were held against.  The question of whether we were giving our best, fighting with our all, was always subconsciously posed beneath the surface of what was actually spoken. And sometimes, it was spoken.

“You have to be strong.”

“Don’t give up.”

“Anything worth fighting for is going to be a struggle.”

“Don’t be a quitter.”

“Life is hard, but you just have to keep at it.”

And though there were and are many truths to these statements, it dawned on me as of recent that there is  such a thing as an appropriate time to let go of the fighting and the struggle and just surrender; to find acceptance and peace with what is, and still contend for a better life. Can the two even coexist? Contention and acceptance? I believe so. And I’m finding that the less I struggle against what I can’t control or can’t overtake, the more ground I actually win.

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Christmas hope.

Eyes blinking, lights twinkling, wicks burning. In the background, instrumental Christmas music plays softly, lending to the air of nostalgia in the steamy room. I soak and sink deeper into the steaming tub, sink deeper into my decade hopping reverie as I revert back to the mind of a little girl. Of a little girl who was caught up in the magic of Christmas as she lay beneath the tree gazing up into the million tiny lights and glimmering ornaments, wedged between presents, and surrounded by the train set circling round and round, entrancing me all the more into my sugarplum visions.

In this candlelit room I am almost back there, almost back to that time when only the best was possible. Where the future seemed as bright as the neighborhood collection of lights and holiday display. Almost transported back to a season where magic and dreams were more of my reality than bills and debt and failure and sickness. Back to a time where I would never have dreamt the future would turn out any differently than what that Christmas hope eluded to. Continue reading

Sifted.

How can one heart, sanctified by purity, oscillate between two such opposing extremes; on the one end bitterness, and the other, gratitude. How can the same soul, which awakes with thanksgiving at the sound of seagulls calling to one another in the misty morning hours, also lie down with enmity toward those who soar through life without second thought to limitations or constraints. Without second thought to the little things throughout the day that are so easily taken for granted. The things which those of us bound by the chains of our own bodies long to have the freedom to do once again. The things our sickness so unforgivingly snatched away. Of how deeply we pine for the simple things of life. To plan a lunch date without fear of whether we will be stricken by pain. To make a commitment without considering how it may interrupt or affect our tedious and time-consuming treatment. To jump with joy in response to a victory, an exciting report, or even just because we feel like showing our delight. And on to the bigger little things, such as the ability to throw on a pair of sneakers and run with no goal or end in mind, or to hike up a mountain or even a sizeable hill, to swim in the sea, to dance at a wedding, to attend an exercise class, or any number of physical things that should characterize the years of youth and remain throughout decades to come.
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Though the woods rejoice…

It seems rather cruel really, once I actually take time to stand still and reflect on it, that the woods which I have always been so drawn to, so loved, so enchanted by, and felt most alive within, might just in fact have been the very place where my life has been turned upside down. Continue reading

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