Hope can be elusive. It can feel more like a theoretical concept than a reality of your life. There are moments in the hardest spots of life where you will honestly wonder if it will ever get any better. I have had at least a few of those moments every single year for almost 10 years probably. And the thing is, if I am truly honest with myself, a LOT of things in my life have changed. A lot of things have gotten better and some things have gotten ridiculously better. Yes, somethings got worse, sort of, or I suffered loss or pain or something, but overall things are pretty good for me.
My pastor asked a couple Sundays ago that anyone who had a "need" picture it in their mind and we prayed about it. Thing is? I couldn't truly think of something I could call a "need." I don't want to be single, but I can't classify that as a need. I'd rather not work a day job because I'm a night owl (i'm writing at 11:40 pm) and would rather sleep in every morning, but the need to keep my apartment trumps that desire. I do need to lose weight, but that's not the kind of need I felt he was talking about, and more importantly I didn't even think of it at that moment. I looked around and I saw a friend in a very rough situation that truly only God himself can intervene in, so I shifted my prayers to be on their behalf rather than my own. But 5 years ago? I had needs. 3 years ago? I had needs. A year ago? I had needs. I need healing yes, I need someone to walk me through this process of grieving. But I have that. I have amazing friends and wonderful family going through that road with me. And I have God himself on my side, he understands this truly, and he can absorb all my fury and rage and despair.
Tomorrow hope will likely be elusive. I will hold tight, white-knuckled probably, to the intellectual belief that it will get better. But I probably won't feel it. In fact, I can almost guarantee that I won't feel it. In fact, I may not "feel" it so much that I won't get out of bed or go to work.
Tomorrow is my Dad's birthday.
He should have been 61. We should be going to Olive Garden or Ground Round or even Texas Roadhouse to have dinner and then back to their house for a piece of cake. Maybe a card game or two before calling it a night. But he isn't 61. And we aren't going out to eat. And it will definitely not feel like a celebration. We've got a plan, we know what we want to do to remember and honor him, but ... it won't feel like a celebration. Because we're each missing a piece of our heart.
But I have to hold on to hope. Hope that next year it won't be quite as bad, it won't feel quite as hard. Hope that the sharpness of the pain continues to ease. Hope that someday we can talk about him without wanting to break down. Hope that someday the nevers will be done or almost done and I won't find myself leaning against a wall reminding myself to breathe because I'm doubled over with the weight and pain of the grief.
And, the reason I write, hope that someone else might see this and realize they are not alone. That someone else might read this and know that someday, it does get better. Birthdays will get easier, holidays will get lighter. The pain may not go away, but the sharpness of it will dull. The intensity of it will fade some. Someday it will be like someone who claims to feel the rain coming in an achy joint, you'll remember your loved one and there will be pain, sadness, loss, but you'll be able to laugh and enjoy life and share who they were and how they impacted your life. You'll be able to talk freely about them without hesitating to check and see how you're doing emotionally and whether or not you can get through it.
Today it's elusive. But, eventually, on some seemingly distant tomorrow, it won't be quite so elusive.