I tried to write something hopeful this past week.
See, I’m in the middle of a certain special project very close to my heart and soul, and it takes me to a certain special place and it burns a certain special kind of energy. Ambiguity is SUPER FUN, right, you guys? And in all honesty, I can’t wait to tell everyone what I’ve been up to, but right now it feels sacred and secret and I don’t want to lose steam or jinx myself just yet.
But this post isn’t about what I’m sneaking around and writing in caves.
This post is about hope.
And how achingly hard it is to find right now.
Lately, I’ve been able to get away and outside with good food and trendy notebooks and my favorite pens and just write.
What I had wanted to write this week were words steeped in hope and purpose. But I got barely two sentences in when I realized I needed to write something else entirely. Every word I had put down felt fraudulent. Every scratch of my favorite pen felt dishonest. And every inch of me sitting on a restaurant patio with my trendy notebook and fancy pen was a tired lie. We humans hate to feel dried out like that. I think it reminds us too much of our dusty, lifeless beginnings.
So I pulled out a second notebook (I have at least three with me at any given moment). This notebook is reserved for my messiest, sloppiest, most honest and rough-edged words, and I found myself writing a full frantic page before even catching my breath.
I wrote about this hopeless world, about the consistency of grief and selfishness and violence and death, as if I were briefing anyone who might be listening. I wrote pleas to God to JUST FIX THIS, with capital letters and underlining. I didn’t exactly know where I was going with it all, I just knew I had to move away from all of the darkness and all of the despair and all of the senselessness.
This world sucks right now, you guys. And that’s pretty much where I ended up when I packed up my notebook and put it away. I am world-weary, and I can hardly remember what hope tastes like. I read heart-wrenching stories about coping with or giving in to depression; I read about racial tensions pulled so taut it threatens to snap this country in half; I read in horror about the dangerously, carelessly justified acts of brutality twisting and scorching the homelands of our middle eastern neighbors. I read, helpless, about devastating choices pushed up against only slightly less devastating choices. This world is driven deep between a rock and a hopeless place.
And it makes me just want to quit it all and scroll through BuzzFeed articles instead. What I really want to know is what emoji am I?
But then I write. It’s what I do when the emotions roll over me, thick as fog or tear gas, and all I can do is watch through stinging eyes as the light disappears, defuses. I write because I’m not in a place where I can hold hands and feet blistered by the desert sun or stained with spilled blood. I’m not in a place where I can bandage wounds in both bodies and minds. I write, even though what I really want to do is shake my fists at the sky and demand in capital letters and underlining: FIX THIS.
And then those become the only words I want to write. I want to end it there. I want to cross my arms and turn my back because no one seems to hear me, hear us, hear the whole world cry out: FIX THIS.
I am not smart enough or political enough or passionate enough or rich enough or present enough to do much of anything else but wail against the broken places.
Hope, right now, feels frail. Hope, right now, feels false, or fleeting at best. And because I’ve pressed my hands against my ears while chanting FIX THIS FIX THIS FIX THIS FIX THIS, I cannot, do not, hear God say, “I have; you’re here.”
I don’t like that answer. In fact, I hate that answer. Because I’m not smart enough or political enough or passionate enough or…
I still don’t know where exactly I’m going with this. I still don’t know how to write words of hope. To be hope. To be part of the fixers God put us here to be.
I don’t know how, and all the while, our world is caving in.
For Christianity is a fighting religion. It thinks God made the world […] But it also thinks that a great many things have gone wrong with the world that God made and that God insists, and insists very loudly, on our putting them right again.
— C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity