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Hope is the first thing that enters into a relationship,
and it is the last thing to leave.

- Orna Walters

April 21, 2012                                               

        Earlier this month, we met up at the wedding of Katie’s daughter, Laura, in Carmel, California. Joan’s lovely home was the launching pad for the bridal parties to ready themselves for the ceremony and the debriefing spot after the wedding as well. We celebrated the beginning of a new chapter in Laura’s life and we celebrated our years together in friendship too. This shared experience allowed us to take a moment to think about how important it is to look forward together in hope – hope for sunshine on the wedding day, hope for a loved one’s recovery from an illness, hope for a better world. Hope is such an important part of life. And yet, as Meb points out, Hope is not enough; we are also called to be grounded in Faith.

        Happy Spring and here’s to springing forward into whatever it is you hope for…
Joan, Katie and Meb
Hope is the first thing that enters into a relationship,
And it is the last thing to leave.
            This thought hit me square in the heart. Since my divorce, each time I meet someone interesting and new there is the hope that this person could be my Soulmate. Each new job I take seems like it will be the perfect one for me. Each new gym I join is going to be the one that helps me transform my body. Hope even shows up in my gardening experiences. Every time I plant another seed I am aware of how I hope.

            When I start something new, I put effort into it, provide fertile ground, and the nurturing and attention I think is needed to bring it to fruition. I put my heart into my effort, hoping one day my venture will grow into a beautiful experience that will make me and others happy. But as we all know, that’s not always how things turn out. This Spring, I planted some nice bulbs hoping for daffodils and I ended up with bright yellow flowers filled with snail snacking holes. I ended a three year relationship, not even as friends. And yet, I wake up each day, and continue to hope that next time I plant daffodils, I’ll be smarter about the snails and the next time I begin a relationship, I’ll be smarter about my boundaries and all will be better. When we start something new, a garden, a relationship, a job, a diet, we don’t always know what will happen but we hope for the best. If we didn’t have hope, would we even try?

            If Hope is in part caught up with the future, Faith seems to exist right here in the present. Faith is what enters into a relationship with the Divine. To have Faith in the Divine assumes a belief that is not based on proof or my own imagination. When I pray for something or someone in particular, I hope for the outcome I can imagine, but my Faith in the Divine requires me to trust that God will answer me with this request or something yet unknown and better for me. Faith requires me to put my heart into doing my part to make things happen, to nurture the ground on which my request rests. I do not ask for miracles without being willing to put effort in from my own side of the equation; but there is another side to the equation—God’s side. A relationship built on Hope is human and has limits based on what I think and know. The relationship I have with the Divine exists in the realm of Faith and is enduring. God will not toss me over for another woman or into the compost heap because I am a little wilted, or lay me off when the budget gets too tight. God will never leave me. God is with me for the long haul and on my side for the duration.

            And it is exactly this Faith that gives me the bedrock I need to leap forward into my next best future where I hope to be a better version of myself. As Thomas Merton said, “You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.”

            So, armed with Miracle Courage, this Spring, let’s take Hope, ground it in Faith, and spring forward – facing whatever life's challenges, adventures and new beginnings come our way, knowing that God holds us all in the palm of her hand.

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Joan, Katie and Meb
co-authors of The Miracle Chase
It's About Faith
"This feeling of walking with Someone by my side is something I call Hope. I imagine Hope believes in me, even if, right now, I do not."