In spite of my very best efforts to let go of hopelessness, I’m not gonna lie, it continues to be a day-by-day thing. But most days, hope wins. The practices I’ve talked about (naming gratitudes, unplugged mornings, contemplation, stillness) are a big help. and this month, I found another one – and some new voices – that have combined to lighten my spirit. I like to think I’m strong enough to do the hard work to find hope in the dark places, but day in day out, it’s exhausting. Light helps. (so does sleep. and taking care of myself with good food and exercise. but I know I’m preaching to the choir about that!)
So I want to tell y’all about my latest lightbulb. It happened two weeks ago. The Pantsuit Politics girls were in Austin and they shared an Instagram photo about a fun morning … and tagged Jen Hatmaker. Jen was a new name for me, but I clicked a few links and discovered she’d written a few (12?!) books, had friends who’d written books I’d heard about, and hosted a podcast … and that her most recent episode was with Fr. Richard Rohr. I dug around a little more and found episodes with Brené Brown and Barbara Brown Taylor (and many other familiar and not-so familiar names … her archives are a real rabbit hole). Bottom line, the credentials checked out. I downloaded a few episodes and started to listen (and by the way, that episode with Fr. Rohr is amazing!) I firmly believe that things happen in the time they’re supposed to happen, but wow! I wish I were 15 years younger so I could be friends with these people! (their message, their passion and their hope would’ve made a difference for me personally.) but still. I can listen now and be hopeful about this just-behind-me generation and what they’re doing for our communities, our country and our world.
In response, I’ve curated my Instagram, newsletter and podcast feed a little more … and all of it now makes me feel, on the balance, hopeful. I do still follow my same news sources, so I’m not completely without balance. (or darkness.) But most days, seeing what folks are making (mostly knitting and sewing), growing, seeing, reading, doing and celebrating seems good. and in that, I can find hope.
…and now the lightbulb. Jen closes each of her podcasts with the question “What is saving your life right now?” She read those words in one of my favorite books, Barbara Brown Taylor’s An Altar in the World and I love that it gives her an opportunity to mention BBT in every podcast! Those words are underlined and ♥’d in my copy (on page xvii … yep, before the book even starts) and I now have a new appreciation for what that question – and the answer – really means. The answer to what’s saving my life right now is what’s found in both hope and gratitude:
- spring. longer days. color. birdsong.
- my Instagram feed.
- my Friday morning small group. reading Richard Rohr’s The Universal Christ and having the opportunity to talk about the revelations with smart, strong, wise and kind women.
- stillness. rest. contemplation.
- easy knitting.
- morning walks.
- gray hair.
- this space.
Thank you for reading, commenting (if you’re so inclined – I have tried to make it easy and I promise I’ll respond), and being part of my story. xxoo -M.
and a HUGE thank you to Juliann for hosting our monthly meet-up.