Wednesday, October 19, 2011

It's Not Hopeless

I brought the plant in off the deck last week, and placed it back in the living room window. It looked more than a little sad; almost all of its leaves were frozen or blown off, and the few left quickly browned and dropped to the carpeting. Maybe I left it outside a bit too long.

But then this morning, I saw this. It seems happy to be in out of the cold.

Things may be bad in our lives right now, but we need to get beyond worrying about how bad it is for us --- as if no one or nothing else is more important. Last night politicians debated their proposals for the country. Each one told the others how terrible their ideas were, while their own ideas were perfect. They might all have stood together at the end, raised a stein of beer and sang: “My plan is great, and yours is stupid and so are you.” It would have been the only thing they agreed upon, as each was worried only about themselves, as if no other idea or anyone else had any merit. They didn’t sound much different than the protesters in the New York parks, seeking affirmation of how great and deserving they were. Meanwhile, locally, a drunken dad was in the news bragging about how he wasn’t driving drunk, since he had his 9-year old daughter driving for him at 3AM. What a good guy he thought he was (just like the politicians) --- but at least he had the excuse that he was drunk.

Even in our stupidity we want to make excuses about how we’re not really that stupid. In wanting EVERYTHING for ourselves and in saying we NEVER make mistakes, we are trying to justify how it would be right if we were given heaven here on earth, right now. We (and the selfishness we seem to proclaim so proudly) deserve it.

Sometimes I get sad over our present state of affairs --- witness some of my recent posts. But then I see things, like this plant, and I am reminded that it is not hopeless. And that I can and should stop worrying about MY situation. For this blog, my favorite line from Scripture is: Do not be anxious, but focused on these times I think it is: I will be with you always.

I saw a young woman in the 7-11 yesterday. She wore a tight-fitting t-shirt, and filled it out rather nicely. I commented to her that I really liked her t-shirt --- and she kind of frowned at me as she left the store. Go figure! But hey, I was looking at the saying on the back of her shirt as she was leaving. Really! It said: “It’s not what you wish for, It’s what you work for.” I liked that simple saying; it states my feelings well about what is missing in our country right now, a desire to get out and work to make things better. (As an aside, thinking on it now, I can see why that particular saying wasn’t printed on the front of the t-shirt.)

But when things are going wrong, as they are now, we so often ignore things that are right, and there are many. That young woman chose that t-shirt to wear; and that was a good thing. This morning’s paper noted that us social security recipients will get a 3.5% raise next year (thank you all you taxpayers) --- I smiled and told the guys in Panera’s that starting in January they will be buying my coffee each morning. (They didn’t smile back.) But this last Saturday was sweetest day, and I not only got candy, but a bottle of wine. Isn’t life grand? And in a couple of weeks the kids will have Halloween, and get their candy share too --- and probably even too much. There are so many little gifts in life that we quickly overlook, like the smile the tiny baby gave me this morning from across the chapel altar, as we both looked at the gift there.

Despite all that seems wrong and worries us, it is not hopeless. God is with us, always, and He loves us. We don’t have to worry so much about the bad things happening to us; we don’t have to concern ourselves about what we don’t have, or what we want. What we need will be given to us, because He said so. All we need worry about is what we can give to others, as He did.

And like my little plant, we’ll be happy. And what now seems bare and lacking in happiness in our lives will be filled with greenery, a new spring, before we know it. All we have to do is make others happy, like the flower on my plant makes me happy, and we too will be watered and cared for, in ways beyond our understanding.

Have hope. Trust in His promises. Do not be anxious.


  1. Life is often strange, painful, quirky. It has odd parts, awkward pauses, and it can be confusing when we try to do what's right and things seem to go all wrong, when people misunderstand us or our intentions. I like this post. It is hopeful.

  2. I'm glad you felt that message, booklady. It's why I was asked to write this blog, to give hope. It seems like so many are despairing these days, and in their panic not turning to the one who can really help.

    My life has gone through a number of phases. I once thought I admired a woman who told me she was dividing her life into three successive phases: Making money, giving to others, and giving to self. I don't know how that is turning out for her, but as for me, I am being led in ways I would have never planned.