When I’m old and wisened, I might write a book about hope. Over these past couple of years, I’ve thought a lot about the discipline and beauty of hope; I’ve noticed its extreme unpopularity in our feed-me! culture; I’ve even developed a working title for said book: The Lost Art of Hoping. Oh, it’ll be a deeply motivating book about how we can peacefully and gracefully hope our way through life. I’ll use some convincing schematic that will help us all wait for jobs, raises, spouses, babies, and vacations well.
As it turns out, I’m awake at 2 a.m. and thinking that my title is all wrong. Tonight, I’m thinking perhaps there isn’t any *art* to hope at all. Perhaps hope is just one of those things that we can’t do well; that it inherently requires sleepless nights, risks, tears, moodiness, and imaginary friends as we bumble through this mysterious life. Perhaps the point is simply that we do it at all, never really controlling circumstances, God, or blood-flow as much as we think we do. Scripture is full of stories about people (Abraham, Ruth, Moses, Mary, Peter) who hoped awkwardly; who am I to think that I’d be any different?
I talked to a friend tonight who wants nothing more than to be married. Here it was Valentine’s Day and all she had was a “hot date” with her computer and a stack of books. She said she dressed up just in case. Beautiful in a little red dress, she probably cranked out a couple paragraphs of a term paper, closed her laptop, and went to bed. Maybe on the phone-side of the bed, just in case. Awkward. No formula. No art. Just raw, did-I-shave-my-legs-for-this? hope.
I knew she was telling me these things because she wanted me to say something grandly hopeful like “I’m sure he’ll stop by with a quart of Ben and Jerry’s” or something, but I just couldn’t muster anything up. Mostly ’cause…
Here’s what hope looked like for me today: I was up at 5 a.m. doing leg lifts and marching around our tiny house to see if my light contractions would pump out a Valentine’s Day baby. At mid-afternoon, I walked up and down the mall with a friend (I actually debated whether or not I should bring clean towels and dental floss – to tie off the umbilical cord – should I give birth in J.C. Penny’s). As contractions began again this evening, I hurriedly packed my toiletries bag, thinking that the baby was on its way. I looked at the clock gazillions of times, thinking that I was watching the time tick down to delivery. I changed the sheets, did one more load of laundry, handed my front-door key over to my mom, vacuumed under the cushions, and hung the baby’s “One Year” calendar on the fridge. My Bible and journal are in the front seat of the CRV, my body pillow is in the trunk, and I have no meal planned for tomorrow night’s dinner.
Then, my contractions stopped.
I was grumpy, but still hopeful.
Certain that they would start up again once I went to sleep, I switched sides with Ryan and slept on the clock-side of the bed, so as to time my sure-to-be-sensational contractions. But, all I have to show for my work is a real peaceful slumber from about 9 p.m. – 1:30 a.m. And a blog at 2 – no, now almost 3 – a.m. That’s all. Awkward. No formula. No art. Just raw hope… whining and wondering… “knowing” that the time will actually come, but feeling certain that it won’t.
But now I seriously do feel a contraction, so I’m going to go walk around in circles, in the baby’s room, in the dark, just in case anything starts moving…