I've been preparing for tomorrow, when I will speak (briefly!) at The Moyer Foundation's Annual Giving Luncheon. It's their 10th anniversary, and they are celebrating the community that has supported them, and helped them to raise $19 million to give to charities that aid children in crisis. I will speak about how their giving has directly impacted our family through Ronald McDonald House, The Hutch School, Seattle Children's Hospital Childlife, Advanced Care, Hospice care and the American Cancer Society's Camp Goodtimes West. (If you are a praying person, I welcome your prayers!)
It felt awesome to be capable of juggling all that I had to do while Zoe was here, but as soon as she and her group left, I "crashed." Just started to feel ill and tired, and had to S-L-O-W D-O-W-N. I'm still moving slowly. To those of you with full-time jobs, I bow in humilty; I am not you. I am accustomed to a slower pace, and must admit that I can't multi-task for any length of time with any degree of grace, fluidity or success. I just can't do it now. Whether or not that will change, I have no idea.
Why fill the heart with hopes? Leave it empty for God. -Robert Mertens
This quote was in my inbox today. It was funny, how it hit me.
The first thing I thought was, In the old days, that would have seemed quite depressing to me.
The second thing I thought was, That's a very Buddhist way of looking at things. Having done a bit of Buddhist reading, I could see how it is actually a very positive statement. They look at hopelessness differently than I was taught to look at it. (For example, look at "When Things Fall Apart," by Pema Chodron)
Once a month, I write for a website called "Hopeful Parents." And without hope, I don't think I'd get up in the morning. But hope can mean many things. Here is why I say that:
I had great hope for our family, including our daughter.
I had great hope for our retirement savings.
I had great hope for growing in excellence myself.
All of these hopes have been derailed, or at least, are not going to be fulfilled the way I had hoped they would be. Let me say that again: NOT GOING TO BE FULFILLED THE WAY I HAD HOPED THEY WOULD BE.
I had hopes and dreams, and I had hope for my dreams to be fulfilled in a certain way. You could say I had visions of my hopes coming true - attachments to "how" they would happen, as well as to the outcome. This is a kind of "controlling" thinking.
I thought our daughter would grow up, graduate from high school and college, get married and possibly have children. She won't.
I thought our savings would multiply by the "rule of 7." They haven't.
I thought our savings would take us sailing into retirement, even - possibly - an early retirement. They won't.
I thought our savings would keep me as a stay-at-home wife and mother until Gregg retired. They probably won't.
I thought with study and prayer, I'd eventually outgrow my character flaws. I haven't.
I thought I'd be a good, giving church member, continuing as a deacon and a Stephen Minister. As far as I can tell, I won't.
I thought that God would teach me to be a better person through prayer and study and practice. Prayer and study are good and useful, but He is teaching me the most through life's events. And I don't think that my becoming a better person necessarily glorifies God; it would make ME feel better about me. He may be able to use my flaws in His own way, to His glory. I am trying to accept that!
We have very little control at all in this life. Just when I think I've learned that in one area, it pops up in another. And another. And another. It's a continual, humbling process of surrender.
So I love this quote because, rather than hopelessness, it is reminding me to place my hopes in God, not in my dreams. Dreams are fine and good - they are natural to us as humans, and we need them - but we can get so attached to them that we have struggles when we have to let them go.
My best hope is in the love and goodness of God and His creation.