Hope is the ability to hear the music of the future.
Faith is having the courage to dance to it today.
~ Dr. Peter Kuzmi
I watched two different women this week dance with faith and courage in the midst of raw grief and confusing self-disclosure and doubt.
Like the cracked thick calluses on my heels, my harden heart split open raw with their stories. Each word, the pumice stone. Each tear, the moisturizing cream.
After sharing her story one lady faces the future with inspiring courage. She has chosen a difficult path and is ready now to explore the second half of her life. She told me,
“It’s been an ongoing struggle of pretending to be something I am not and then learning to accept myself as I am created to be. I’ve let my walls down and found strength in my vulnerability.”
Her pain taught me I can survive and even thrive being myself – no masks needed. Just take the steps into the unknown path ahead knowing God will accompany me and guide me. Once she said those words, her spirit soared. She was free. Free to dance.
“The encouraging thing is that every time you meet a situation, though you may think at the time it is an impossibility and you go through the tortures of the damned, once you have met it and lived through it you find that forever after you are freer than you ever were before.
If you can live through that you can live through anything.
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face.
You are able to say to yourself, `I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’
The danger lies in refusing to face the fear, in not daring to come to grips with it.
If you fail anywhere along the line, it will take away your confidence.
You must make yourself succeed every time.
You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt
The second lady shared her story about starting a garden. She, her husband and two kids were going to Europe for an extended study and she wanted to have something at home waiting for her return.
She did return the following year, but without a husband and with a now disabled son. A terrible car crash took his life and caused permanent brain damage to her then four year old. She now sat in the garden with grief.
But she sparkled with hope as she told her story.
“Death is real, but life is realer,” she smiled. “Life wins. Jesus is risen. Death does not have the last word.”
She told us the compost pile sits in the corner of the garden. As she sat there in her brokenness and her sorrow, she realized:
You put a banana peel into the compost heap, but you don’t get a banana tree. People die. Her husband would not be coming back. But too often we get too busy looking for banana trees and miss the peonies. Life changes. Death happens. But so does resurrection. So does transformation.
She plans to live with faith and hope and enjoy the flowers nourished from the banana peels.
We delight in the beauty of the butterfly,
but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.
I listened to the stories of others this week. Then found hope in knowing Jesus’ resurrection defeats death.
I saw courage.
I witnessed faith.
And my heart, rubbed raw with their words, danced.