I think faith is incredibly important because you will become overwhelmed with what’s happening and you will have waves of grief, but when you turn to your faith, I believe God will give you waves of grace to get through it.
I sat on the top of a hill this past weekend with a group of women and watched the sun rise. I was overwhelmed by life’s circumstances–in the world, in my community, in my family, in my soul.
Things were so overwhelming, that instead of facing the feelings, I’d retreated. I’d closed off to hurt. I’d shut down hope.
I’ve travelled the world for the past few months and I’ve been confronted. Confronted with people who live on the streets, people enslaved by drugs, people who live in gang-controlled suburbs, people who have survived terror or lost loved ones.
I’ve met people estranged from their family for twenty-five years because of their sexuality. Cancer has caused suffering and stolen hope.
I came home and heard the shocking news of a person taking their own life. The ripple effects of grief have caused many to question–where is the hope?
Hope is a precious commodity when we are overwhelmed by life’s circumstances. If hope is absent, all seems lost.
What does hope look like?
I met a woman on Skid Row in Los Angeles on my birthday. She’s the same age as me, has been in a hostel for twelve months, is getting off drugs, and hopes to rebuild her life. Red Eye, put on a Mother’s Day party amongst the tent city home of thousands of homeless people. Makeovers, goodie bags, food, clothes, and dancing in the street put smiles on women’s faces. The woman and I danced on the street together and she beamed with the beauty of hope.
Hope looked like a program, a place to stay and dancing in the street.
We visited a youth centre in Watts on the south side of LA and met kids who all had family members who’d been shot. We saw bullet-wound scars in little kids who just want to play.
Hope looked like mentors who visit every week to help them see another life.
In Seattle, Jessica, saw homeless people without shoes so she started Redeeming Souls to keep their feet warm and protected.
Hope looks like someone, not just walking in your shoes, but putting them on your feet.
Another Jessica, a hairdresser and wellness trainer, began giving hairstyling services to single mums, teenagers, the abused, neglected, and survivors, of sex trafficking. This has expanded into the not-for-profit organisation, The Beyond Project.
Hope looks like someone pampering you and helping you look polished and clean, so you feel valued, loved and worthy.
Terror attacks, suicides, wars, homelessness, drug addiction, family alienation, the death of a loved one, lost dreams, lost hope can cause us to be overwhelmed at times. But, hope has a way of creeping in. Hope can be found again.
Hope can rise.
Even a flicker of hope gives us the strength we need to carry on.
Where there’s a skerrick of hope, there’s life.
I sat on top of the hill, the sun rose in front of me, walked across the paddocks, climbed the hill, and kissed my face.
Hope rose in my heart.
What is Hope?
Hope is the sun, peeping over the edge of the horizon.
Hope is the sun, rising into the sky.
Hope is the light, walking across the paddock towards you.
Hope is the sunlight, kissing your face.
Hope is the light, burning your eyes until all you see is a white-gold haze.
Hope is closing your eyes to the light, yet, it burns–a memory.
Hope is the light, imprinted on your soul.
Hope walks with you until the sun settles and sinks into the silent sea.
Hope is closing your droopy eyes and the dim, depleted light dances in your dreams.
Hope is when God whispers without words:
It’ll be okay.
It’ll be okay.
It’ll be okay.
Hope is the light on the path that leads you back to the important places.
Elaine Fraser (Written at Fresh Leadership Conference Retreat 2017)