Thursday, September 20, 2012

on hope

The reality of hope is that it exists only in depravity.  It lives when there is something unattainable, unreachable, absent, void.  Hope is present only in poverty, that is, the nothingness, the lack, the emptiness.  Hope is for the desires unfulfilled, for the aspirations not yet achieved, for the triumph yet to own.

All these things said, it is hope that I most struggle with.  Hope is the sibling I was born with - the friend I will always have, the thorn I will always have.  I love hope, I need hope, but I tire of it, I want distance from it; I argue hope, but I call her back to me, and we walk together, despite me.  Hope exists only in depravity.  I am often with hope.  I am often in depravity.  I struggle with hope.

I struggle with my tendency to set very high hopes.  It's always while I am climbing this high mountain that I am simultaneously praying, "God, please don't let my heart go there."  The memories of frequent abandonment, rejection, and failure repeat in my mind, and I remember the great collapse, the gruesome heartaches, the pain of hope deferred.  And yet, for some reason, I climb higher, afraid of vulnerability yet being blatantly vulnerable.  I hope.  Sometimes, the longing is fulfilled.  But it is more frequently deferred.

Still, as ruthless as it sounds, I would choose hope, regardless if it infers a life of depravity.  How hopeless is the perfect life!  The life in lack increases my need for grace, my need for forgiveness, my need for salvation, my need for a Savior.  And I can have full confidence, full assurance, that these specific hopes will be fulfilled.  The hope to be loved by God is the one and only desire of the human heart that will always be met with fulfillment.  It's infallible.  Every other desire in my life owns even the slightest chance of failure, a chance of disappointment.  This is not to say that the other desires and wants in my life are unimportant - not at all, God Himself can place these desires in our heart.

Thus, my very frequent prayer:
Let every desire be subject to the desire of You.
For a long time, I've pray this over my life, I pray this over others.

It's when we find Him, that we find all the other things we desired.  It's the discovery of Him, the discovery of Truth, that sheds light on what our heart really needs.  Sometimes the things we longed for are no longer appealing.  Sometimes the things we shunned become the things we now hope for.  But when the want for God is the foremost hope in our spirits, the result of every other hope is dull beside the brilliance of Him.  He promises His Love.  He is hope fulfilled.

We do not hope for what we have.  Therefore, to live in hope is to live in poverty, having nothing.  And yet, if we abandon ourselves to economy of Divine Providence, we have everything we hope for.  By faith we know God without seeing Him.  By hope we possess God without feeling His presence... The only thing faith and hope do not give us is the clear vision of Him Whom we possess.  We are united to Him in darkness, because we have to hope.
- Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island


There is one specific area in my life that is always deferred.  Though I vaguely refer to it (I'll tell you straight up- it is not about dating/marriage, as some assume), I don't know how to talk about it, because I don't understand it.  For ten years, an issue has repeated itself with different faces, but the same situation.  And I've fought God - fought God!  There's not many scenarios where I will yell at God because I am angry with Him, but this situation, I am always dumbfounded.
For ten years I'd wonder the same thing: Is it me?  Is something wrong with me?  Is this something that you do not will for my will and therefore do not grant it?  Is it something I need to endure?  But why?
Why would you put a hope in my heart, when it is always deferred?
I mean that.  Ten years.  Always, always deferred.

And yet, I climb the mountain again.  I climb with sorrow in one hand, and hope in the other.  
And as I ascend the summit, I pray that every desire is subject to the desire of God; I pray that God will make me a person of virtue and integrity, that at the base of my heart, I am motivated by the hope that at the top of this mountain, I will find God.  I want God to be my Hope, to be my salvation, to be the fulfillment, the longing fulfilled.

One day.


currently reading: Thomas Merton, No Man is An Island
currently listening: "Spend It All" Ascend the Hill, though this song is most fitting:

Thursday, September 6, 2012


For every piece of constructive criticism, be ready with five pieces of honest compliments.
Having a hard time thinking of honest compliments?  They're there, after all, if God made that person in His likeness, there has to be more than "just something" of value.

(things i'm learning in management)