Tag Archives: hope

45. HOPE

43-stork

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

 

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44. My Testimony

Hi all, really struggling with my energy and brain function today, so thought since our subject at the moment is hope, I would share my testimony about not being healed that was posted on Godspace this time last year. I hope it is an encouragement to you! More on our journey of seeing tomorrow.

https://godspace-msa.com/2016/03/04/20-years/

43. Patronus (hope)

patronus

I was despairing of a number of things in prayer yesterday, and before I’d sat up I found God asking how I’d feel if he came and sat next to me dressed as a Dementor from J.K.Rowling’s wonderful books. I knew he was both coming alongside me in my despair, and good-naturedly ribbing me at the same time. God cannot look like despair, and always encourages us to hope. But he knew I didn’t feel that way.

Yet when I did sit up, I saw a shape in the light shining through the curtains that reminded me of a stag patronus, and it made me smile. My contemplative heart is still able to see with the eyes of hope, even when my mind and emotions struggle to do so.

Photo and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

42. Wall (hope)

42-wall-hope

My parents are moving, and recently brought me up the last lot of my belongings that I’d stashed in their loft after my divorce. Some are from my schooldays, and one box is so old that it has “Produce of W. Germany” printed on it. It is rather apposite that it is falling to bits.

There is a lot of talk about building walls at the moment, and one wonders if the human race has regressed rather. It is good to remember the joy that we all felt in 1989 when the Berlin Wall began to crumble, both literally and figuratively, and the German people rushed at it with glee and tore it to pieces from both sides, beginning a new era, restoring an old union. My hope is that such restoration will always triumph over the borders and stone walls that are set up between “us” and “them.”

Photo and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

41. Laptop Sunrise (hope)

laptop-sunrise

Most of the time I’m not only stuck indoors, but stuck in bed, my chronic illness likes to keep me pinned down. So, taking contemplative photos can often be a challenge. Or you’d think so. But there is always something to look at in a new way, and this gives me hope. There is never a day when a new angle isn’t able to strike our thoughts and prayers, bouncing off our inner workings like light. Well today’s photo is just a close up of my laptop’s track pad, and the light bounced off it and made something rather beautiful, I think.

Photo and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

40. Out on a New Limb (hope)

new-limb

This tree caught my contemplative eye yesterday. It’s clearly been harshly pruned at some point, and there is a new, smaller branch growing out of the larger, older one. It speaks to me of resurrection, of hope and new life coming out of suffering.

My parents are moving next week, and they will be starting new growth from a base of love which will hopefully be wider than it was before. But it is still a wrench, as so many necessary changes are. I hope they will soon be able to feel the peace and deep knowing that the harshness of the uprooting is supplanted by a new life that stretches out before them into the light.

Photo and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

39. Two for Joy (hope)

two-for-joy

Only the British would make up a rhyme “one for sorrow, two for joy” about a fairly solitary bird, though I’m reliably informed it was first assigned to rooks. At any rate, trust us to make things harder for ourselves. You don’t often see two magpies in close proximity, so I expect these two are a breeding pair. They’ve been hanging around a while, taking it in turns to make noises like football rattles and to sit on heat ducts in the cold weather. I’m not one for signs or omens, mostly because they tend to show themselves just when you are most desperate and vulnerable. But I’ll take this one today, even if it is only because I can’t help but smile at a pair of raucous, spied pied thieves.

 

Photo and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

38. Schrödinger’s Cat (hope)

38-schroedingers-cat

We haven’t seen our neighbours to speak to for a while, nor had we seen their ginger tomcat Timmy (fiercer than he sounds) all winter. He is getting on a bit and since he had also neglected to sign our Christmas card, we feared he had passed on. But today, there he was, sitting in the front garden, enjoying the almostness of the February sunshine. The warmth was not quite there in the same way that he seemed too good a sight to be true. For several months, he had been dead in my mind, and here he was bold as kitty brass, staring at me and wondering why I was telling him I was pleased to see him.

Hope is, perhaps sometimes like the cat in Schrödinger’s ironic fictional experiment, neither there and yet there at the same time, on account of ignorance of circumstances. One might picture Herr Schrödinger holding out a plate of tuna and calling the cat out of its box and into being, though he would, perhaps have been using a slightly more Germanic name than “Timmy.”

Photo and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

37. Grounded (hope)

hopeful-feet

The last two days I’ve been laid even lower than normal by some difficult emotions. Empathetic angst goes straight to my poorly body, and even my zombified existence is harder than usual. Where on earth to find hope? But also during these two days, hope has been grounded in friends joining me in prayer for someone I love, and in the wonderful person to whom the above feet belong (he hates having his photo put up anywhere, so this is all of him I could get). He comforted me and said all the right things, reminded me that my empathy and general wobbly nature goes along with my creativity, and did not laugh when, as the radio got to a crescendo in Holst’s Mars, I stumbled into the kitchen after an extra sleep, my hair all over the place, my pjs askew, looking very unlike the god of war, to announce that the cat had been sick. This is how we do spiritual warfare in our house. He was and is just generally a great shoulder to lean on. I feel blessed in him, and his survival against great difficulties, and his tenacity and bad-ass stubbornness inspire me to hope. This, on top of his ability to somehow continue to support West Ham, show me there must be something worth hanging onto.

Photo and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

36. Primroses (hope)

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Spring is beginning to show its face, albeit a little tentatively, knowing that February can hold a few wintry surprises yet. The brightness of the yellow butter curls seems so out of place in the still half-dead garden that it always surprises me. If nature can be so bold with its colours, and so brave in its unfurling, maybe there is hope for even the shyest of us, or for those of us tucked away under the duvet of sickness.

Photo and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017