At Eve’s Daughters, we love the phrase “realistic hope.” I know when I first divorced, I sure wished someone would wave his or her magic wand and fix everything, and most certainly I expected it from God because, you know, He just wants us to be happy… But as time went by, and I continued to experience problems and solve certain challenges and get even deeper conundrums, I felt like a kid playing that Whack-a-Gopher game: One goes down, two pop up. And I despaired. A lot.Then at last we see what hope is and where it comes from, hope as the driving power and outermost edge of faith. Hope stands up to its knees in the past and keeps its eyes on the future.—Frederick Buechner, “A Room Called
Now, with a few more miles under my belt, I’m feeling a little more realistic about life. But realistic can be a real downer, because we know all too well how real things can really get. So where’s the balance?
I had a great opportunity today, to just sit and listen to a single mom. We were thrown together inadvertently (if you believe that such things are inadvertent) and have since become friends. The greater gift came early in the morning, while it was still so dark that you’re not sure it will ever be light again. I’d asked to be encouraging, because I often feel lame in that department. I got a Scripture reference, wrote it down on a purple Post-It and stuck it in my purse. At the end of our discussion today, I pulled it out and asked, “Does this mean anything to you?” Well. Of course. It was timely and precious and pertinent in a way I could not manufacture. I gave her a hug and told her to put it on her bathroom mirror. She laughed and said she was going to stick it to her forehead and have everyone read it back to her.
I had a great laugh today, with another single mom—a great big black laugh, one that comes in and around tears. It had to do with the aloneness of being a single parent, and how, when one is sick or injured and seemingly approaching death, it seems the entire world has forgotten you. Until the nasty decomposing vapors start to waft. Who might notice? The children? When their laundry remains undone? Or the neighbors? Whom we do not know well because we’re running all the time? It was a bad good laugh, so dark and purging that you strangely feel a little lighter afterwards.
I had a great crisis today with someone I love, because it seems the house of cards just got flicked, and something that has now been done cannot be undone.
And now, with the day not even close to done, it does kinda feel like I’m up to my knees. This day truly is very similar to my others—some good, some bad, some wrenching, some status quo. Today the heartache gopher raised its pointy little head, but, for example, the childrearing and financial drama gophers are still snug in their holes. For now. But for some reason I don’t feel as yanked around as I usually do. I feel human, to be sure, but not the need to try and be superhuman. I feel brokenhearted, but thankful. Tired, but energized. Alone, but not so. And I believe that—wading through, eyes on horizon, tiredly rejoicing—is realistic hope.