With summer still in full bloom just outside my door in Southern California, I try to steal a moment in the morning and step outside while the air is cool, the sunlight is soft and the world is quiet and peaceful. It clears my mind and instills hope for the day ahead.
Back in April, when I devoted my free time to cleaning away the blight of winter in my garden, I would stop in midst of my digging when I came upon a small plant fighting against all odds to survive. I cleared away the debris and gave the little fighter a long drink of water. That little plant gave me hope. Suddenly the labor-intensive task before me was imbued with something more than the end goal of a tidy garden.
What exactly is hope? Is it just a neurological reflex or is it something more? I've come to believe that it's something more than a mere emotional response to life. Nothing fires me up like the presence of hope. It's a stimulus to my spiritual self that is positive and uplifting. For me, life is a matter of spirituality and hope is a predominant theme.
Hope provides support when the winds of adversity are lashing at me. It is something to hang onto when I'm at the bottom working my way up. Hope in what, you might ask. That's a good question. From where does this fount of hope bubble to the surface? I can only share my own experience. Living my life according to spiritual rules of conduct provides me with a hope-filled perspective.
I can apply spiritual guidelines to whatever problem I'm currently facing. Do I need to let go of a person or a situation or do I need to forgive? Should I stay the course or find the courage to forge a new beginning? All of which is based in faith. Yes, I believe in God, a benevolent source of love, and it is from this higher power that hope flows into my life.
My faith has been earned to a certain extent. Having spent most of my student years in the Catholic school system, I believed what was taught to me. A few years later, I went on to question what was taught to me. Continuing even further down that road, I turned away from faith altogether during a period of my life that can be best described as distracting and unproductive. However, when all seemed lost it was my faith that stayed by my side. I rediscovered it and when I got back on my feet, I took my faith with me.
Both the powerful and the fragile components of the natural world, work together to strengthen my belief in a power outside of myself. My early years were spent in an urban environment, yet as a young girl I was always delighted by the discovery of a flower that crept up between the cracks in the concrete. Today, I am surrounded by a rather prolific garden and I stop whatever I'm doing to watch birds and butterflies.
When attempting to describe God to my children when they were young, I liked to use nature analogies. I would tell them that the sunset is God's final word on how the world lived life that day. I pointed to the four seasons as an illustration of the cycle of life; part of God's living design. Finally, I shared with them the guidance that I found in divinely inspired writings that impart spiritual tenets on conducting one's life. I did this because I believe that having some sort of a relationship with a Higher Power of your understanding provides hope in life and we all need hope in life.
God's hand isn't found solely in the expanse of a wild flower meadow; it's on the Battlefield, in the halls of Congress, the classroom, the office and in your kitchen. I haven't had any lightning bolt, burning bush type of experience and yet, I believe. In the midst of tragedy and uncertainty there is always the presence of hope and hope is God's Hand outstretched towards us.
We may not receive the desired outcomes for a particular situation and this may break our hearts and spirits, but hope remains. In the loss of a loved one by illness or by crime we may end up treading the road we dread the most, but hope remains.
In our darkest hour a single candle flickers on. This faint, soft light is hope. Hope is always available, as late as the hour might be. Hope means that we're not alone and that we're loved. If we're open to the notion of guidance, it will be given. Hope is intangible, it can't be bought or sold, but it exists, hope exists.
Among the nature analogies that I shared with my children in order to begin to describe this God of mine, I would point to a seed and explain how it responds to a combination of moisture, soil and light. To me, it's nothing short of miraculous. Hope has that power of miraculous transformation.
A spiritual lifestyle provides a humble beauty to your days along with a lasting peace that has not been found in all those other places where you tried to find it. Hidden among these jewels of the spirit is hope; let it illuminate your being, tend to its flickering light and it will never fail you in the darkness.
Bridget’s writing career as a newspaper columnist, a web-site contributor, content writer and French language translator has found new expression as a novelist. Whispers on the Wind, Bridget’s debut novel was the first installment in the Celtic Heart historical fiction series that continues with A Woman’s Equal Share, due for publication in Autumn 2014. Join the E-zine and you’ll receive a free E-book: ‘Essential Oil Diffuser Blends and other Beneficial Recipes’ just for subscribing. http://bit.ly/1rMNT9h
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