Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What I Learned at Disneyland

"Don't worry, Kalei, I'll make her smile!"  These kids. 
A friend asked me recently how I figure out what to write about.  

The truth is, most of the time, I have no friggin clue.  In fact, on more than one occasion, panic set in: crap it’s almost Wednesday, what the heck am I gonna write about now???

But I’ve noticed a funny thing recently: during the week, a series of little events magically combine, and a theme emerges. And what I saw over and over this week was hope.  

Maybe it was completing a truly heinous half-marathon training run, a 6-mile doozy of stairs and hills and utter madness, which caused me to think hey, maybe I won’t die. Perhaps it was hearing the news that a dear friend who suffered a tragic loss, just had a beautiful baby girl.  Or maybe it was the hopeful little faces of my nieces as we waited in line at Disneyland to meet their heroes, Elsa and Anna of Frozen (a 1 1/2 hour I’m-now-best-friends-with-Tommy-and-Megan’s-mom wait, I might add). 

As I was standing in line at the Happiest Place on Earth, I thought about how my life now is in such stark contrast to a year ago.  It brought me back to the memory of a dark email I had written during one of the most difficult periods of my life.

That email was my first attempt at truly letting people know what was going on—a small cry for help that I sent to a few dear friends.  

Since I’ve always been a pretty positive person, I’m a bit embarrassed to admit this: I had lost hope.

I hadn’t read that email in a while, and I was curious, so I went back and re-read it. I was a bit shocked.  This is the part that jumped out at me:

But as I sit here, crying my eyes out--after one of my resolutions was to stop crying so much!--I still question everything, doubt whether I'll ever be happy and live a life that makes me excited to wake up in the morning.

I guess I have to.  Because at my core, I believe this can't all be for nothing.  That all this hurt, pain, loss....there must be a reason for it. I have to believe it. 

Here’s what I found so interesting: I remember that email being completely dark, depressing and hopeless. 

As it turns out, that wasn’t so at all.  

I didn’t realize until now, that I did still have hope.  Even in my darkest hour, there was a part of me that didn’t want to give up. 

And my friends weren’t ready to give up on me either. 

One of my oldest friends responded within minutes: I love you and you’re gonna be ok.  And then she said something that pierced right through me: 

Never ever ever ever give up.  Like, ever.

I wish I could say that right then and there I made the decision to turn things around.  I didn’t.  It took a little while.  But I know she planted a seed. And along with friends, family, and most importantly, my renewed relationship with God, I eventually climbed out of that pit to a new chapter of my life--stronger, happier, and overflowing with hope. 

Of course today’s Jesus Calling is about hope (I wasn’t kidding about this theme thing):  

Waiting on me means directing your attention to me in hopeful anticipation of what I will do.  It entails trusting me with every fiber of your being, instead of trying to figure things out yourself.

I also found this little gem which is my new favorite verse on hope:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13
So now, when I feel myself slipping into dark thoughts, I remind myself of this: 

There is always, always, always, always hope.  Like, always.

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