Tag Archives: Hope

Vulnerable to hope.

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“I hate that she has no hope.”

So said my thirteen year old about me/to me in therapy. She was angry.

What could I say?

It is hard to share appropriately with one’s children your real outlook on life. Especially if it’s bleak.

It is not that I’m hopeless.  It’s simply that I have no emotional bandwidth to even think if I have hope or not. There is no emotional margin to consider such things. On a macro level I always have hope, even if it’s not for this life but the one coming.  I can always find that.

But on a micro level, it’s like asking someone fully awake and haemorrhaging on the operating table if they feel hopeful about their situation.  There’s no time to consider that!  All they can think about – if anything at all through the pain and shock – is whether the surgeon can stitch them up in time to stop them from bleeding to death. All while their children are watching.

My daughter’s words stayed with me all week.  I tried to explain at the time but it cut no ice. She is hurting so badly and I’m not providing her with any rope to climb out of the pit alongside me.

I’ve chewed on the truth this week and I recognise that, while it’s true I feel there is currently no margin for hope, that’s not the whole story.  I’m also protecting myself from hope.  When sufficient margin/time has been regained to allow for it, I know I am scared to make myself vulnerable to hope.  To dream. To open myself up to new possibility beyond where we are right now.  Beyond the debris and the broken glass and the re-creation.

Yet the consequences are grim.  ‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick.‘ This week I see that there is another way of reading that verse.  Without hope, I am a poorer version of myself.  Putting off hope doesn’t do me any favours and my children desperately need to see that I have it so that they can have hope themselves.  The fish stinks from the head. If I take hope off the table for the time being, they can’t see it either and we’re all heartsick.

I can’t do that to them.

So how do I allow for hope in the midst of my overwhelmed-ness, my grief, the enormous and unending minutiae of setting up a new life on the opposite side of the world? How do I make room for it?

More sleep would help.

More time will help.

St Paul always helps. He talks about hope on the macro level: ‘Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.’

Along the lines of ‘Everything will be all right in the end, and, if it’s not all right it’s not the end.’

Meantime, Paul also talks about hope on the micro level: ‘We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.’

What does it mean to glory in suffering?  I don’t think it means to enjoy it, that would be whack-a-doo.  I think it means to own it.  To recognise a) that you are suffering and b) to put it in its correct context.

i.e., as a Christian, your suffering is not outside of God’s control. He doesn’t will it upon you (ever), He’s allowed it, He’s right with you in it, you are passing through it (it’s not eternal) and He will bring good out of it.

This does not make suffering for me, “OK! Not so bad!” But it is transformative to know that any suffering is not just random bad luck, unjust and completely without point.

With that assurance I can (Step Two) persevere in it. To me, perseverance is taking on the weight and still pushing forward.  Still going.  Not giving up. (Bashing on regardless).

And this produces character?  No, evidently not. Not all coal under pressure becomes a diamond.

The carbon that forms diamonds is much purer, and requires much greater temperatures and far more direct pressure that can only be found deep into the earth.  Carbon near the surface just becomes coal.

Character is produced in human beings who are willing to go in all the way.

Because only then may we discover our character can be transformed by the heat and the pressure. We ourselves will be the proof of transformation when we come out the other side.  Stronger. Wiser. More knowing. More generous. More forgiving. More patient. More kind. More Christ-like.

And THIS gives us hope. Not hope of something else, but hope of God in us. This transformation shows us that we shall not go forward from this point as the people we were before, doomed to repeat ourselves over and over again. We have been refined in the fire, God can change us.  We can now hope for an encounter with the life God has for us that is new and hopeful – simply because we are too. We shall become more fruitful.

Ah, I see now.  I can have hope right now in this process of transformation.  That by owning the suffering I am in and persevering through it, I will be transformed. For His glory. It’s not for nothing. I will become more truly who I’m meant to be to do better things in a better way for Him.  And I can hope for that transformation from glory to glory right now in the midst. It’s already happening and it will bless me too.

THIS HOPE, I can make myself vulnerable to.  For there is more than this and I am being prepared for it by Him and for Him through this season of difficulty.  God does have more for me.

This hope shall not put me to shame.

jsg/feb 17

Taking Names.

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Apologies for taking a gap since last writing, my children and I are crossing the Red Sea. Which SUCKS BIG TIME.

I’ve never really thought about that before.  What it was like once the Israelites were actually in the Red Sea crossing it.  Yes, they’d been standing on the shore with the murderous Egyptians bearing down upon them and saying, “Anytime now, Lord, would be good.  A way forward ANYTIME NOWWWW.”

And the Lord gave them one.  The author of creation turned creation on its head and parted the waters.  Fantastic.  They had a way to go forward, now they just had to take it.

And there was the rub.  Because the waters parted, yes, but not to reveal cocktail waitresses offering refreshments and golf carts to help these weary, scared refugees (Over treacherous terrain? Deafened by indescribable noise? Under time pressure?)  The Lord gave them a way, and this was it.  This was the Lord’s plan, and it was not a second-best kind of deal.  It was huge and terrifying and they hadn’t seen it coming.  It was to save their lives and, as they embarked looking over their shoulders, the way back was firmly closed.

Have you ever considered how many of the Israelites took their children? Children who had probably had an entirely different experience of Egypt.  Who hadn’t been making bricks without straw, who’d had friends and food on the table and a routine.  Things had been relatively OK in their world.

Then their parents ripped them from all they had and, with only snatched explanation, dragged them from all they knew with only the clothes on their backs.  All the comforts of what they had understood as “home” gone.  In an instant.  And no turning back. No choice. No vote.

I empathize with the Israelites.  Have you ever taken a child somewhere they don’t want to go?  And the going itself is brutal?  And there’s no change coming up soon?  And there’s no way back only forward?  As a parent, you’re meant to be the one who gets it. Who cheer leads your offspring forward and tells them it really will be OK in the long run.  When you yourself don’t know the outcome exactly, so the faith you express to your kids is absolutely the real thing.  FAITH.

Faith in the One who provided you with the way – the only way – forward.  A miraculous way for sure, but horrifying, daunting, hard, and challenging to your core beliefs in ways that make previous tests of faith look like child’s play.

Like the Israelites, my children and I have had to leave everything on the shore behind us in the last month or so.  I have kept my faith and my hope. However, over the past two and a half years, I have lost everything else that I had been standing upon: marriage; dog; community; house and home; lifestyle; nationality; social strata; career; and adult independence of any kind. In the list of things that cause stress in one’s life, the fact my brain and heart have not actually exploded must be confirmation that the Lord’s hand is on my life to sustain me.  So I’ll take it.

I’m meant to be the one cheer leading my kids, when for much of the time I want to curl up and wait for the Red Sea to drown me too.  Bereavement catches me unexpectedly. Standing in a sofa store realizing that, before, I’d had a perfectly good sitting room I’d lovingly created over two decades.  Looking for a cup to measure dog food when, before, I’d had the perfect scoop at home. Catching a reference to a TV show that, before, I used to know the time of.  Seeing a photograph of bright sun that, before, I had felt on my skin every day.

At least four ideas for blogs have gone through my mind over the last three weeks, but none of them smacked of what I know to be true.   I am not hopeless.  Just because the way is horrid and horrifyingly humbling, it doesn’t mean it’s God’s no-better-idea.  It is in fact His best, so I am not without hope. (Just because I want to scream and have a tantrum right along with my children doesn’t mean I’m not still going to keep them and myself walking forward, because I know I can and I know I will.  I’m just HATING IT. At this point.)

Interestingly, one of the things I am struggling with the most is the loss of my independence as an adult.  I miss being in charge of things one usually takes for granted – groceries, diet, decor, space, rules, organization, calendar, TIME. I miss being able to pour myself a glass of wine after I’ve put my kids to bed and just doing something FOR MYSELF. It absolutely sucks.

But then I challenge myself with what I’m really saying, because the truth is I don’t want to be reliant on anyone ever – not even God.  I want God to give me a way forward where I won’t have to be so constantly on my knees asking for forgiveness, strength, grace, direction and provision.  I want a bit of a straight run.  A bit of a “I’ve got this now, thanks Lord.  We’re out of Egypt. I’m going to get us comfy and then I’ll check back in.”

HA! How wise the Lord is.  If He’d given me the Country Club lifestyle would my faith resemble in any way what it is today?  Of course not, I know myself.  I’d be a good-person-Christian. A church-on-Sunday and giving-to-Charity and doing-the-right-thing sort of Christian.  Not a down-on-my-knees-bloodied-bruised-stripped follower of Christ crying out, “You’ve got to get this, Lord, because I can’t do it! I trust You! I need You!  I’ve put all my chips on YOU! I LITERALLY CANNOT GET THROUGH TODAY IF YOU’RE NOT WITH ME. Fill me with Your strength, Your hope, Your truth, Your life, Your joy, Your peace.”

All of which are the genuine article – REAL strength, hope, truth, life, joy, peace.

So yes I hate my loss of independence and I hate this perilous crossing over from my old life of bondage into my new life of freedom.  But I wouldn’t trade it for the life I have in Him.

When the Israelites got through the Red Sea they went into the wilderness.  I’m going to skip that, I hope.  But then when they did finally get to the Promised Land they had to fight for it. Good grief, did the struggle never end?  Will mine?

And the answer is no.  Because in the struggle is the life, the hope, the peace, the truth, the joy. The life that constantly keeps eternity in mind.  The life that cries out “All for You, Lord!” not “All for me!” because His plan is better than any I could come up with — and He has proven that to me over and over and over again.

So now I’ve finally written a blog, I’m not calling it “Crossing the Red Sea” or “Say Not the Struggle Nought Availeth.”  I’m calling it “Taking Names”. Because this Promised Land when we reach it is not one we’re called to simply receive but to conquer. So I’m going to take it, I’m not going to be afraid of it and I’m not going to wait for it to come to me. 

When these seas are behind us, I’m going to enter this Promised Land not as a victim of my past, but as the victor of my purposed, planned and prepared future.  The God who has promised me land is a God who loves me and has brought me HERE.  Through Him I’ve got this far so, with Him, what can stop me now?

As my children have struggled with new schools, new schedules, new home dynamics and new friendships this week, I’ve told them in the quiet following tears (and as much to myself), “Are we under these circumstances or over them? We are over them. We are children of the King and we are purposed to be a blessing wherever we go.  We’ve got stuff to do.  So don’t let anyone put you down.  You go into that school tomorrow and let your spirit cry out, “I’m here!  And I’m coming! I’m a child of the King and He has promised me this land so get ready!  I’m here to be blessed and to be a blessing! How are you today?”

Yes, we’re going to be kicking ass and taking names.  Because that’s the plan God has for us at the end of this ghastly sea crossing.

Jsg/Sept 16

 

 

On a rock in a hard place.

Kids waiting

 

My kids are waiting on me right now.

Waiting on me to make wise decisions. Waiting on me not to let them down. Waiting on me to provide what they need. Waiting on me to come up with a plan. Waiting on me to give them what they think they want.

And all they can do is trust. And go on past experience. And keep asking me.

I’m doing my best. Fortunately it’s not all down to me.

Because, as tough as current circumstances are, I’m not caught between a rock and a hard place. Which I would be wouldn’t I, if I were on my own. Relying on my own resources. My own wisdom. My own sight.

I’m not between a rock and a hard place. I’m ON a rock in a hard place. And that rock, that foundation, ain’t goin’ nowhere.

Thank God.

Because, as my kids wait on me, I’m waiting on Him.  That rock of ages. I’m trusting in Him. In who He is.

And this is where the parallels break down.  Because, unlike my kids with me –

He  does know all the things His kids cannot.

He does have all the jigsaw pieces because He made the puzzle.

He can see all the parts of life that haven’t come into view yet (and may not still for years to come.)

And I can’t. I can only see the current view.

What will I do?

I will ask Him, “Where do I go from here?” I’m trusting to His eyes and His path. He has the power to make a way for me.

I will ask Him, “What do I actually need today?”  I’m trusting to His provision.  I have only to ask.

I will ask Him, “What must I do?” I’m trusting that He will do His part as I do mine.

And in all these things, I’m trusting in His wisdom and His unchanging nature.

I’m trusting to my past experience of Him. To my knowledge of whom He has proved Himself to be in my life over and over and over again.

And in that knowledge, that surety, I stay firmly planted on that immovable rock looking down on all my circumstances.  No matter how hard they may be.

I am looking down, not daring fearfully to peek up.  I remind myself of this.

The kids and I are all waiting.  They for me, and I for Him.  Doing as much as I can meantime.

I wait and I watch.

And I choose to keep appreciating the view.

 

 

Jsg/May 16

 

 

NOT your misery memoir.

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When I first met Katherine and Jay Wolf, they were impossibly hard not to like. Which was infuriating, because they seemed to have it all.

Young, stop-in-the-street beautiful, warm and funny, they sprung from solid Southern Christian families with a strong, foundational faith themselves. They married their college sweetheart, moved to LA to pursue law (him) and modeling/acting (her). And then on top of all that the Lord gave them the surprise cherry on the cake in the sweet form of baby James.

I can remember the day I first spotted them.   Hugely pregnant with my second, I was sweatily teaching the Young Marrieds class at our church on an appallingly hot August Sunday morning when they walked in. Even among the beautiful young coupledom of LA, Jay and Katherine stood out like a cool, uncomplicated breeze of joy.

Dealing with whatever was on one’s own plate, it was easy to look at these carefree two and think, “Well how easy is it for them to be happy?? They have everything! What have they ever really suffered?

And then, almost two years later in April 2008, I got an email prayer request saying that Katherine, at age 26, had suffered a massive brain stem stroke and was not expected to live.   Jay was only days away from sitting the California bar exam and their baby James was just six months old.

“WHAT?” It was like getting a hard, head-numbing slap.  I can still see where I was sitting at my father’s desk in England with a cold Spring light coming through the window. “What??” I repeated to myself. “This kind of thing doesn’t happen to someone like Katherine! She’s the fairytale, this isn’t right! This is not the way their story should go.” And I prayed.

Miraculous is a term that (ironically) can be overused. However Katherine’s survival has been nothing short of a divine miracle.   And her ongoing survival has come at immense cost, not only to her but also to Jay and little James.  It has at times been almost too hard to believe.

If crucifixion is the ultimate test of character, then over the past eight years Katherine and Jay have proved over and over again that they are both, indeed, the real deal. What has come out of their crushing has not been bitterness, but the aroma of Christ.  When you spend time with them they are full of humor, and honesty, and their love of life.

The many vertiginous twists and turns, ups and downs of their journey thus far they have now written down in a book entitled, HOPE HEALS.

Even though Jay and Katherine have material in spades about suffering, their story is the polar opposite of a ‘Misery Memoir’. And what makes their book so uplifting is their candor. Their generosity in sharing with the world what their journey has truly looked like from the inside: good, bad, ugly and astonishing.

HOWEVER, let me be clear. This is not a book of victory-flag-waving-at-the-summit-of-life-now-it’s-all-over.

HOPE HEALS is a book about what it means to believe in a loving God who has allowed you to fall into the very deepest trenches of life and expects you to keep going.

HOPE HEALS is about what it means to hope when hope may only now be found in the Giver of Hope Himself.

HOPE HEALS is about what it means to hold onto your marriage when it no longer looks anything like what you signed up for.

HOPE HEALS is about what it means to determinedly play out the hand you’ve been dealt and continue to lift it all up for God’s glory. When you haven’t the strength even to lift your own head.

HOPE HEALS is about… just that.

Katherine’s journey continues. The Wolfs’ lives were forever changed by the stroke. And while one can never be thankful for such horrendous suffering, I am immensely grateful that they have chosen to share all that they have learned/are learning in the midst of it with the rest of us.

If you’re looking for a book to encourage, a story to uplift, a teaching to strengthen feeble knees (in every sense, in any circumstance) to keep going, you can buy their book here.

www.hopehealsbook.com  (Also available in the UK here)

Buy it. And, as Katherine and Jay would say, HOPE IT FORWARD.

 

Jsg/April 16

Dreadful Moments, Sweet Memories.

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There are times in one’s life when it’s really better to shut up. Sometimes it is other people you wish would shut up, but I’m talking about those moments when it is far better to just shut up yourself.

Because there’s nothing to say. Life is what it is. What’s happening is happening. There’s no explaining it and there’s really nothing more to be said.

If God is over it, then He has allowed it. So just shut up.

He’s good.

He’s faithful.

He’s true.

He wills my good.

He denies me nothing that is good.

And I could wax on about him testing me, transforming me into his likeness, refining me, burning off the dross, carving away whatever is not intended to be of me, working all things together for my good. His kindness. I could. But I’m not going to.

Because I don’t have to defend him to myself. I don’t have to explain him to myself. I’m OK. I know him.

I know his faithfulness.

I know his kindness.

I know his mystery.

It feels to me right now that there is so much coming against me that I should just try and stay as quiet and still as possible, keep my eyes open and hope that nothing hits me right in the face.

There’s no point trying to keep all the balls in the air, there are too many balls. So I’m just going to lie down in the ball pit, keep my face visible so I can breathe and wait for the next thing to happen. This thought is a huge relief.

Of course maybe it’ll be another ball. But maybe it’ll be a hand helping me out of the pit.

And while I’m in the pit, how can I know what else I am being protected from?

So, Josie. Just shut up and wait. Wait for hope to appear.

 

Jsg/feb 16

 

To make an end is to make a beginning.

New Year Fireworks 16

Happy New Year! As I watched the kids gasp at the fireworks from our garage roof last night, I thought of T.S. and how right he was.

Much of the good endures from 2015. And as I step over the threshold (climb, really) into 2016 I recognize that I can choose to leave much of the bad behind me. I can make an end of whatever I choose not to carry further, and let it explode in a glorious mass of sparks. I can feel the explosion of its weight bursting in my heart and setting me free as I move forward with the scent of smoke dissipating behind me.

Thank God! It is just too weighty holding on to so much story.

So here’s what I choose this day:

I choose faith.

I choose to thought-check. Daily.

I choose opportunity.

I choose generosity.

I choose my kids now, my time will come.

I choose hope.

I choose unimaginable possibility.

And, most of all, I choose the unknown.

Because if this year is indeed new, isn’t it all unknown really? I choose not to frame it. Not to limit it. Not to assume “knownness” upon it.    I know the One who does know, and it’s not me.

So.

Today I climb out of the old.

And I clamber over into the new.

I’m ending all that I can – I’m saying “No More” to “All That” – in order to make a beginning. And I’m not going to pick it all up again.

The end is where we start from.

Join me?

Self

 

 

Jsg/jan 16

 

 

 

Living Hell.

Decorative Scales of Justice in the Courtroom

I had to go to court this week.  It was part of the divorce proceedings. I knew it was coming but I was not prepared for how it would feel.

It is a waking nightmare to hear someone else determining your life.  I kept thinking of all the people in the 1700’s who were put on convict ships for Australia because they stole a loaf of bread.
Obviously it wasn’t as bad as that, but it is something to sit there and hear people speaking their story only to have someone else – and not even a jury – decide what is going to happen to them and their children.

I sat through about 8 cases before mine was called.  It was heartbreaking.  This was family court and many of the parents were so young.  The term “Living Hell” popped into my mind.

We talk about things being a living hell.  And then there’s living hell itself.  When my kids ask me what hell is, without concrete knowledge I can only tell them what it isn’t.

It is a place where there isn’t truth, hope, love, peace, mercy, justice, light, forgiveness, redemption or grace. (Honestly who cares whatever else it may be if that’s what you’ve got to work with going in?)

In this life we’re not in hell though.  All those things are still up for grabs.  For everyone.  If you know that they are.

I watched the backs of one young couple before the Judge fighting over their toddler.  The mother was barely sitting down and her back was rigid with tension. The father’s shoulders were bowed with fists clenched on the table.

There were 30 cases before the bench that day.  Who of us hasn’t made mistakes or poor choices?  Who hasn’t at some point become embattled or embittered or enraged?  Including this grumpy, overbooked Judge! And now it was the Judge’s (I thought ghastly) responsibility to make a judgment based only upon what had been made known.

I felt physically sick when I walked out.  But I was OK, because I am not in hell.  I am grateful that we have a justice system.

And I do know that there is truth, hope, love, peace, mercy, justice, light, forgiveness, redemption and grace to be found.   Because I have found them in greater hands than our own.

And it is going to be all right.

jsg/feb15

Waiting not wilting.

‘In the midst of life we are in death.’  So goes the Book of Common Prayer on which I was raised and of which I can still recite big chunks.

What a concept.  Death in the midst of life and, even more compellingly, life in the midst of death.  It’s both/and not either/or.

The key to acceptance must be to recognize that the two – by their very nature – coexist.  Nothing in our experience of life suggests that any of it is all life, or all death at any time.

Here’s my friend’s garden in summer last year:
John:kids garden

And here it is today:

John's house Feb15

The abundant life is ephemeral, but so is this death.  What looks like death or the absence of life is, in fact, not.  It’s on the way to new life already sown.  New life as yet unseen only because currently it is beyond what we can see.

In our garden, last year’s Christmas tree branches are drying out beneath our blossoming rosemary bush.  Death and life adjacent.

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By comparison the rosemary is so bright and fecund it is enough to make you blush.

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If God does this with all Creation, it must include us.  We know it does.  The cycle of life to death to new life.

If in life we must grab it, in death we must wait for it.  New life is coming.   It is already sown.  It is not absent because it is as yet unnoticeable.

I hold onto this: “God’s delays are not God’s denials.

Hold on; hold fast; hold out.

Patience is genius.

Let’s wait, but not wilt.

Wilting

All we have to do is drink enough water.
photo 2

Spring is coming.
jsg/feb15

God’s Field.

wrestling_fields

I used to think of marriage as a field.  When you first get married, you come to this new field of earth together for the first time.  As Christians, you submit this field to God and He begins to work the land.

Initially, as with any field, all the work involves moving stones and clearing away weeds.  Making the field ready.

That’s the first few years, and they can be difficult. Leaving you with a nakedness and vulnerability which is chilly if you’re trusting enough and committed enough to accept it.

After that – just when you begin to think the clearing and moving have stopped – God begins to plough.  Seriously now?  PLOUGHING?  The field now cleared of stones and weeds is cut into, completely uprooted and overturned.  Everything turned upside down.  But with a purpose.  Sound familiar?

The purpose is to sow.

It seems like destruction.  It looks like destruction.  But in fact you discover (if you can hold on) that He is making the newly cleared ground fertile and open to air, water and light.

So for the next however-many years, God sows.  And He waters.  And He waits.

If you’ve signed up for this ride, this season can really feel like nothing much is happening at all – except a lot of prayer and perhaps recovery from the moving and the weeding, and relief for some respite from the ploughing.

In reality, however, it is a fallow season preceding massive growth and change.  You have to remember that it’s coming – and that it’s good.

If you’re aware of this whole process, you begin to wait with anticipation for a harvest.  For the seeds to grow and produce it.

For many, many, many the harvest comes as a matter of course.  But what happens when it doesn’t?

I used to tell friends that if you walked away from the “field” of marriage, all the work God had been doing in you both and for you both (when submitted to Him) would be for nought.  So you must hang on no matter how it looks through all the pain, all the upheaval, all the change and the sacrifice.

But I have been prompted to realize that this is not necessarily so.  The “for nought” part, anyway.

Because if, after years and years of waiting, there is the realization that God’s seed has been sown not on soil but on stone, it is not for nought.  Not by any means.

Because, even if your marriage may not have been changed/may not have grown/may not have flourished… YOU HAVE.

It is not the harvest you had hoped for.  But it is a harvest nonetheless.

Refining, endurance, faith, perseverance, willingness, enduring love, determination.  These strengths are all yours to keep.  These are your wealth.  Your fruit of obedience.

And – if you do have to travel on alone – you can be assured (as I am) that you are still God’s field.  Because you always were.  His precious creation.

And all He has been doing in you through your marriage will be preparing you for what He is calling you to now.  And you will need every bit of your past fruitfulness to be equipped for that.

Because that’s just how God rolls.

He is, after all, the Great Redeemer.

images

jsg/feb15

NEW

Trees 1

Here’s the thing I love about trees.  They always look up, and it’s worth looking up to see them.  Gazillions of them are many lifetimes older than you or I.  They bring me perspective.

When I was nine, I had a pet tree called Clarence (go with me here, people). I spent hours in the garden talking to him.  He breathed in his surroundings and I, when I was with him, did too.

When a branch is cut off a tree, nothing seems to happen for a while does it.  You think, “Is that it?  Will that pruning be the end of it?”  But then when next you notice, a green bud has appeared.  Sometimes from a similar place,

REgrowth

other times from somewhere new entirely.

Trees - new growth
Many of my branches have been cut away and (I remind myself) there is a physical reality to the time it takes for anything new to grow.  So I have two choices:  I can sit and look at the death; or I can wait with expectation for (some sort of) new life.

In the meantime, I can breathe in my surroundings, feel the air on my cuts and look up.

I am trusting my experience to prove true: that with every skillful pruning there does come abundant regrowth.  Not the same, but new.  And that’s what the pruning was meant for.  Not to diminish, but to increase.

So I sit, and I wait, until suddenly – hopefully – SPRING.
Magnolia bush

I’m banking on it, aren’t you?

jsg/jan15