Saturday, July 12, 2014

Hope.



The graduation was great, though not your usual event. It's different at a therapeutic school.

I sat in the audience, aware that every single person in the room had known deep suffering: every student, every mom, every dad, every sibling, every relative. I wondered what the cumulative number of suicide attempts had been, the number of days spent in hospitals, the number of tears sobbed, the hours of therapy logged. It was intensely moving to consider how impossibly hard these kids -- and parents -- had worked just to get to a life that approximated what others think of as normal.

If you'd told me four years ago that Big Guy would be a) alive, b) graduating, and c) going to college on a merit scholarship, I probably would have grunted, acknowledging the possibility but assuming nothing.

In the midst of dark times, placing you don't place your hope in a pinprick of light that you can't see at the end of a seemingly infinite and pitch-black tunnel that you don't know how to navigate.

In dark times, hope is about focusing on what you can do now. Hope is choosing not to see all the fears and troubles that might become realities, and instead responding to what is asked of you in this moment. Hope is about how you handle the intense mix of feelings that you would do anything to jettison, but can't. It lies in figuring out what you will do to stay strong and sane and true to what you believe, in deciding who you will be regardless of the outcome.

Hope isn't about what you want, but about the direction you will head even if you don't get what you want.

Another analogy: When your ship is in the midst of a fierce storm, wishing desperately for the clouds will part and a well-lit port will appear isn't hope. You've got work to do, crises to manage, crew to keep safe. Hope is like ballast: the stuff that keeps you on as even a keel as possible. Hope is about your center of gravity.











8 comments:

  1. So happy for your son, John, and the entire family! Also, I'm glad that you blogged. Your thoughtful comments and the wisdom you provide in each blog have been missed these past few weeks.

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  2. Congratulations Big guy and Best Wishes for a bright future!!! Julia, your words about hope were especially meaningful to me today as I face issues with my 51yo developmentally disabled brother. I was feeling rather low this morning, and then I clicked on Lotsa Laundry and read your blog. It really gave me HOPE!! thanks again for all of your inspiring words.

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  3. Just a comment to let you know your message goes to many. I have many thoughts about this post and will comment more later. Always want you to know your blog is helpful in the hope you will keep writing and sharing. God bless you deeply

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  4. Congratulations to you all!! What awesome, hard-won accomplishments. I have had the privilege and pleasure of reading your blog for a number of years and am always thankful for your thoughts, reflections, advice. It seems more often than not, the blog of the day pertains to my immediate situation and brings comfort and clarity. Thank you for sharing your family. Blessings to you all.

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  5. Congratulations to all of you! Enjoyed seeing the sweet pictures of siblings happy together.

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  6. This line was especially meaningful in our house this weekend:
    Hope isn't about what you want, but about the direction you will head even if you don't get what you want.

    Congrats to the big guy - he looks terrific in a hard-won cap and gown

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  7. JULIA, WHAT IS THE STATUS OF
    YOUR MOVE? WE MISS YOU!!
    YOUR FAMILY PICTURE WAS
    BEAUTIFUL, BY THE WAY,
    BLESSINGS, SHIRLEY ALDERMAN

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