Honestly, I struggled to write my thoughts this week. Sometimes you get so many emotions battling inside, it’s just easier to wave the white flag of surrender and let them run rampant. And that’s exactly where I found myself this weekend. Relaxing in my home, reading an entertaining novel, doing a few loads of laundry, making an indulgent Sunday breakfast… then, “BREAKING NEWS” on the radio! Less than 30 miles from where I enjoyed a peaceful Sunday, a tiny community changed forever.
And while I did not personally know any of these families in Sutherland Springs, Texas – a rural community just south of my home in San Antonio – nonetheless, THIS tragedy affected me personally. I don’t know if it reminded me of my own childhood, growing up in a small town where EVERYONE knew you and we gathered at church for Sunday morning services. Or, perhaps the close proximity to my own little “sanctuary” rattled me. It could simply be the seeming avalanche of human despair worldwide, finally just caught up with me.
Stuck In A “Funk”
Regardless of the actual emotional trigger, I just found myself overcome with a feeling of hopelessness. So, after wallowing in this flood of emotion for a while, I realized this was NOT who I am or how I approach life. I’m that “glass two-thirds full” gal; when asked to classify myself as either a pessimist or optimist, I always say “realistic-ish optimist!” I LIVE to find that elusive “silver lining.” Yet, here I sat, succumbing to a full-on doom-and-gloom, “woe-is-me” funk.
Knowing this was WAY bigger than me, I went to someone I knew could snap me out of it… GOD! Truthfully, I should have gone to Him a LOT sooner than I did. But, your sight can get blinded by a rip roarin’ “Pity Party!” So, I prayed. Nothing. I read some devotionals. Nothing, yet. I sat on my deck and meditated on His peace. Yeah, nothing… STILL. Not only had I given in to despair, apparently, I’d also lost all patience. Too often, we put God’s grace and mercy on a clock and when our own alarm goes off, we abandon hope.
Fortunately, the minute I stopped trying to force that hope, He beautifully and simply laid it out right in front of me – a warm recollection from my long-ago childhood – Psalm 23!
“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
Good grief… what MORE could I ask for or need?!? No matter what may happen in the world, He’s GOT this! All the hope I could ever desire, lives right within me – as His loved and protected child. It reminds me of a line from “The Wizard Of Oz” when Glinda the Good Witch tells Dorothy, she had the power all along, she just had to believe!
So once I managed to pull myself back together, I reflected on the Sunday events from a more peaceful place, a more hopeful mindset. And… from a place of deep gratitude! As the heartbreak continues to unfold on TV, radio and social media, I appreciate exactly how much I DO have to be thankful for. While my soul aches for those families and that community, I can draw hope from all the good God has brought into my life – and the comfort I know He now brings to His children.
Fake It, ‘Til You Make It
Just like everyone else, I’ve experienced hard times, suffered losses, known pain. But, decades ago – during one of those “rough patches” – I started my “Blessings Journal.” Now, as someone who writes for their JOB, this is not one of those “touchy-feely” journals, where I write pages and pages… although I actually admire people who invest that much into themselves, by truly “journaling.” Mine is just simple bullet points. Each night, before bedtime I write down at least THREE good things that happened in my life today.
Hey, we’re NOT talking deep here! On occasion it’s been something as simple as finding the frozen pizza I like on sale, when I’d been craving pizza and couldn’t afford to order one out. Today, one of my entries will be a kudo someone emailed me; it brought a genuine smile to my face. If we practice hope, we will find hope! Now, I’m not gonna lie… sometimes (like the $1.25 pizza) I have to dig pretty deep for my “nightly three.” Other times, they pop up in the most unexpected places – like social media! But, I know I can ALWAYS find hope and inspiration in the King’s Ransom online social media communities: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
SHARE The Hope!
So as we begin this “Thanksgiving Month” – despite the tragic start – don’t limit yourself to just one day of thankfulness. A DAILY dose fills your “hope reservoirs” quite like nothing else! And, for an “extra helping” of November hope, consider sharing yours with someone who may be running low. Just as practicing hope boosts our hope, sharing hope not only benefits others who truly lack hope, it pays YOU hope back… with BIG dividends!