Our third fortnight has been spent looking at using hope as a filter for our contemplative seeing. This can feel like a bit of a contradiction for Christians, since our greatest hope, as Paul tells us, is in things unseen. Likewise we find that the pervasiveness and strength of our hope often has its seed in the things that ought to make us despair. For me, this was powerfully illustrated when doing a clear-out yesterday. I found my mother’s wedding headband, and a Christening cake stork decoration. I had obviously been saving both to be used in my own life.
Getting married and having kids were always two of my biggest goals in life, and neither turned out how I had hoped, or at least, not to begin with. After a devastating divorce, I am now remarried to a kind man, who would never treat me the way my first husband did. I never did have my own children, but have been gifted a lovely stepson, and the ability and time to look upon people in my life with a maternal heart. I also appear to be birthing rather a lot of books and pieces of writing, as well as art. This may not be what I thought the stork would bring me, but in lots of ways it makes a great deal more sense, given my chronic condition and disability.
So now, even though finding the stork initially made me a little sad (when once, I am not going to lie to you, it would have been gut-wrenchingly painful) I was quickly able to look on it with a smile, and with the belief that I have been richly blessed, just in a different way than I had hoped. So broken hopes do not always end in despair, especially when given to God, they become a new thing. And this death and resurrection we can see all around us, when we learn to look with the eyes of hope.
The next way of seeing we shall be exploring, is related to hope, and will be about seeing potential.
Photo and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017