It’s been a while friends. Life can so easily become a whirlwind; so, amongst the craziness, it feels good for me to write again. It feels like home.
Over the years, one of my friends has kindly berated me with the question: “What do you hope for?”
I was an atheist the first time she asked me this, and I couldn’t find an adequate answer. Nor did I really want to. I was completely perplexed (not that I ever let her know that), and didn’t even know where to begin. At the time, I truly felt that what I hoped for didn’t affect how I would carry out my daily life. I would still be the same Lauren. I didn’t need to have hope for anything because I was here, on this Earth, for whatever reason, and I could choose to make the best out of it. That was my abstract, completely-avoiding-the-question, answer I had for her then.
You would think my answer would change after becoming a Christian. Not so much. Ironically enough, even as a Christian, I have been just as at a loss for words on how to answer this question.
Sure, I could give you the quintessential Christianese answer. “As a Christian,” I should hope for a better future. I should hope for a heaven that is devoid of pain, suffering and lying. I should hope for something beyond our current circumstances. Period.
But I don’t. Because for me, that answer doesn’t stick. Right now, that answer simply isn’t enough.
When asked what I hope for now, the only thing I can think of is all the times hope has failed me.
Everything I have truly hoped for… my grandpa to survive cancer…for that one boy in middle school to ask me out…to get into my dream school, UCLA…for my best friend to stay at Westmont…for reconciliation…for every single person I meet to hurt a little less…none of these things have happened. All these things are out of my control, so the only option I had was to hope that they would get better, that they would change.
And when they didn’t, well, I lost hope in hope.
So, until recently, hope has equated to helplessness in my mind, because it means I have no control. Things are out of my hands. And as a doer and an achiever and a very stubborn “I-get-sh*t-done” kind of person, the idea that something is beyond repair, beyond my ability to fix it, has always been unacceptable.
As I was talking on the phone with my friend who originally posed this question to me, I had an epiphany. (Finally). There IS something I hope for now – and it has forever changed how I go about living life. It gives me freedom and consolation and the ability to love others better than I ever had before. It allows me to relinquish the control that I used to so desperately value. It means I can screw up on a daily, minute to minute, basis, and STILL be loved. I can fail at loving people because something bigger than myself has already loved them first. It means I can completely fall apart and acknowledge my brokenness because my identity will not change despite my faults.
This is what I hope for ladies and gentlemen: I hope that God is in control. Because I can’t be. This adult world that I’ve somewhat begrudgingly inhabited the past 11 months is too much to freakin’ handle sometimes.
And I fail. A lot. I lose control. A lot. And when I do, I tend to throw all the yuck in God’s face. Here God, take this. I don’t want it. That’s often my mantra these days. But if I can hope that GOD has control, over my life and everyone I love, then things become easier. A little more manageable, and a little more beautiful. I can see through the yuck.
I used to have this notion that hope was a passive, underlying emotion. But I have grown to learn that in my hope in God, it’s actually a brilliant, burning, ROARING emotion. Just like God. Like I hope to be.
Two months of grappling with a foreign and unknown concept – it finally feels good to be able to say something worthy about it. Thanks for reading, everyone.