This morning, as Little Guy and I returned from walking Murphy the Dog for the last time, my dear son was being quite annoying. It's his way of showing he's upset, especially lately. Rather than tell him to knock it off (which doesn't usually work well, anyway, and isn't a good strategy when I'm irritable) I picked him up. This is possible because he really is a little guy, just growing out of size 4 clothes and weighing in at a mere 44 pounds.
As I walked down the street with my suddenly quiet boy in my arms, I had a visceral memory of holding Big Guy at about the same age. All in an instant the tears poured out. They came so fast I could barely see where I was walking. I couldn't think, couldn't talk. I held my six year old close, blinking rapidly, trying not to sob and upset him. I thought, "Grief is the thing that sneaks up on you."
But the phrase calls to mind Emily Dickinson, who had a much better thought:
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chilliest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
I hope that things will get better for my family, though I'm aware they might not. This leads me to think that hope is bigger than wishing for a specific outcome. Hope exists on a deeper level, contingent more on what we choose to believe about life than on what happens in a particular situation. I have that kind of hope. I hope you do, too.