Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Hope is a Good Thing

I've been a little bit down lately.  It happens when I'm overly-tired and cannot catch back up.  I begin to feel overwhelmed, and I run the risk of falling down the hole.  It's not a deep hole -- more like if you were running in a field and stepped in a gopher hole.  It's not enough to end you, but it's exactly the right amount to put you on the sideline for a while.

My emotions are all over the place too.  I had a meeting today with my principal and two other colleagues.  I found myself describing some of our returning students as suspicious -- skeptical of people who make promises, wary of things that seem too good, broken-hearted by a history of let-downs.  So instead of just believing -- just trusting -- that what I say is what I mean (good or bad), they give me the side-eye and force me to prove myself, time and time again.

When I left that meeting, I realized that I had also been describing myself -- or at least myself as of late.  I've mentioned how difficult the last school year was; I won't even link it again.  If you don't know, you don't need to know.  In truth, it's been several years that were tough, and although I claimed to be "cautiously optimistic" about this year and that I knew enough not to "get married on the first date", I think it was more.  I know it was more.  I know because every small let-down, every flaw, every backtrack in our new-old school has impacted me more than ever.

I got my hope up too far, and when I hit the first gopher hole in my path, I never recovered.  And so, for 3 weeks now, I've limped along, hitting every other hole as I ran.  I have found myself frustrated in ways that have been forgotten to me, and this weekend, Doubt grabbed me by the throat and wouldn't let go.  Did I make the correct decision?  Was I supposed to be here?  Am I doing everything I can?  Am I holding on for the right reasons?

Doubt had somehow choked out every last bit of hope I had left, and it was only September 9.

So today, as I walked back to my classroom, I tried to just let it go.  I took a moment outside my room, I breathed a deep breath, and I prayed.  I prayed that when I went inside, I would only worry about what was in those four walls for the next 51 minutes.  There were setbacks, sure, but at the end of that class, I felt I had gained ground.  And so I prayed for the next 51 minutes.  And the next, and the next, and the next.

On the way home, I tried to decide if I could live this way for a while -- 51 minutes at a time.  Could I find a way to temper the hope I so desperately required within my room with a peace about things to come outside of it?  Could those two things exist together?  Could I let go of the things not in my control and keep close the things which are?

I'm not sure.  I'm really not.  But I have to try.  Because I am a glass half-full.  Because I am more sunrise than sunset.  Because I need clean slates and second chances.  Because I am not me if I am not hopeful.  And I just don't know how to be anyone else.

*In other news, you might remember a blog that was recommended to me -- The Real Full House.  The author of that blog, Bruce Ham (aka  "Danny Tanner") releases his book Laughter, Tears, and Braids tomorrow.  Bruce and his family helped restart my writing a few months ago (59 days now), and his words and stories often have given me hope in my quest to live a better, healthier, more honest life.  I don't think it's chance that his release is tomorrow (9/11) -- a day that always needs more hope and beauty.

As a writer, it's difficult, sometimes painfully so, to share your fears and hopes and worries (and embarrassments) with the world, but a writer is nothing without a reader.  So, if you're so inclined, log on and order a copy tomorrow (click HERE).  Buy one for someone who might need a little hope.  Buy one for a dad who's done more than he ever dreamed or a mom who's been two parents instead of just one.  Just buy one.

And if you can't, leave me a comment here or on my Facebook page or send me a tweet -- however it is that this post finds you.  I'll be ordering extra copies tomorrow morning, and I'd love to give some away.  (You know how I love a book giveaway!)  Tell me what you're hopeful for today or this week or this year.  Speak it into the world, and let it become your prayer and your truth.  Let your hope fill the hearts of others.  They just might be running straight for a gopher hole.

Until tomorrow, friends.

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