Hey friends, hello and thanks for reading along here. Thanks, also, for so many comments and private messages after my most recent post about hope. Apparently lots of us are grappling with hard feelings right now, and it is wonderful to freely exchange the best reminders. Thank you!
P.S., let’s not waste time and energy feeling bad for feeling bad sometimes; we all are in very good company. You have every bit of the wisdom and strength you need for this exact moment in time.
Today I have a more lighthearted story about hope.
A few years ago our precious friend Maddie invited us to one of her high school drama musicals, Shrek. (Locals, if you ever have a chance to see a theater production at Choctaw High School, buy your tickets and put on your party dress. The production quality is mind blowing.)
In the story, as you may know from the animated film, Princess Fiona is held captive in a castle tower. Every day she pines for her romantic, royal rescue (a story worth exploring in its own right). She sings about it. She gazes artistically through the tower window and imagines how it will happen. She daydreams of her unknown Prince.
Every day of her captivity, Fiona lives in constant, positive expectation of the One True Thing for which her heart longs. She sings, “I know it’s today, I know it’s TODAY!” In the song she laments other princesses’ hard problems and their grim fates, and she continues to count her own days waiting (20, 21, 22, 23… What day is it?) yet constantly asserts. “I know it’s today!”
It occurs to me at this point that many of us are counting years, not days. If this is your situation, please know that I know how much that hurts. My heart goes out to you.
Back to Shrek.
Day after day, Fiona’s answer eludes her. She continues in hope, but night falls and no deliverance. Over and over again, she goes to bed still captive, still hoping. The audience is drawn into her suspenseful waiting.
Until one day.
One day it does happen. All along her rescuers had been on their own long journey, searching for her. She is found and freed and can finally celebrate. Do you know what she sings?
With even bigger exuberance than before, Fiona the Hopeful belts out, “I knew it would happen TODAY!!” The crowd screams as if Russell Westbrook, coached personally by Bob Stoops, just won the Showcase Showdown!! Energy ripples through the building. Strangers hug and high five and kiss each other right on the mouth. An old man stands up from a wheelchair and does a cartwheel. Giant, sequined confetti falls in a slow-motion whirlwind. A horse whinnies triumphantly.
Not exactly, BUT… The crowd definitely cheers, and I do vividly remember sitting there in the dark auditorium with Handsome and our friends, weeping and shaking a little bit, feeling overwhelming joy for this fictional character on stage, ha! Which just means I was feeling what it might feel like for my own prayers to be answered, again.
Because my prayers have absolutely been answered so many times in life, it’s unreal. The deliverance from fear and danger, from threat and grief and so many very real problems and crises… When I stop to reflect on it all, I get tearful giggles. How could I ever ask for more? And yet, life marches on and problems and heartaches are just part of it.
I’ll happily take it all, and lots and lots of it, thank you very much. The beautiful, the mundane, the terrifying, the delicious. I’ll take all the shadows, because I want all the blinding light too.
And when the prayers are hefty and the miracles we need are immense, like they are right now, again, I want to be like Fiona. I want to live in constant, positive anticipation of our deepest hopes being fulfilled TODAY.
One day it will be today. Our disciplined, hopeful singing will turn in an instant to shouting and celebration, all over again. The pain of waiting will be forgotten, all over again, out of the blue.
Out of the blue has been exactly how so many miracles have been delivered over the years.
Keep praying, friends, and I will too. Keep imagining and expecting the best of everything. Continue in hope. Every scripture invites us to enjoy this habit. Every good bit of spiritual literature will press you into some theme of inner buoyancy, which is what hope feels like to me.
“Despair is the development of pride so great
that it chooses one’s certitude rather than admit
God is more creative than we are.”
My sister Angela shared this beautiful quote with me