Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year Hopefullies

Yep, I just made up a word.


It's the whole long list of things you hope for in the coming New Year...

hopefully, this year will be better than the last...

hopefully, my marriage will get better...

hopefully, I'll find a new job....

hopefully, the biopsies come back negative...

hopefully, I can find my way out of this addiction...

hopefully my depression will ebb more than flow...

hopefully I'll shake myself out of this funk I've been in for the last eight months...

and, hopefully, I'll be able to pay my bills on time.


You have them, so do I. Your hopefullies may be on that list...

and then maybe not.

Maybe you have hopfullies you would never share with anyone...

hopefully, I can stop looking at porn.
hopefully, I'll stop purging.
hopefully, no one will catch me in my web of lies and deceit and cover-up.

That must be why we cling to New Year celebrations and shiny new resolutions.

We are almost giddy at the thought of our hopefullies. Why?

Because, the thought of one more stinkin day of our struggle wears us out. It rips us apart and in the darkness after the smiles fade we're left with a quivering upper lip. Please, can anyone tell us it will all be better?

That's why the thought of a brand new day without our struggle brings a glimmer of hope...

a tiny shiny ray of light peaks through the darkness.

It is the reason we celebrate, right?

It is the very reason we await the day.

...the one day.

...the 1 day.

...the first day.

...january 1st.

It even sounds fresh.
It sparkles with promise.

It is the one day of the year when we believe change is possible.

When we long for a difference and we believe it can happen...

this time.
this year.
this day.

Because, if there is one thing we all want more than anything else, it's change.

Will that child give up the one thing that's holding them down?

Can we just go back to the way we were? Can our relationship just be a little more romantic, a little more considerate, a little more honest?

Will my job be a little more exciting, a bit more appreciated, pay a few dollars more?

Can my health improve? Just a little? Will this be the year I'll have more energy and less weight? Will this be the year the biopsies come back clean? Will I finally eat right, lose weight, lower my blood pressure?

I really hope that things will be different this year. How about you?

What are you hoping for?
What's in your bag of hopefullies?

I am convinced that this longing, this gut-wrenching desire for newness and change simply reveals our heartache for a fresh start.

We want a slate wiped clean, no looking back.

With clenched fists and grinding teeth we push forward and plead and beg and pray, Lord, let it be different.

Only this year, it is different. It is already different. Maybe it's the years piling up. Maybe it's the unmet longings and the reality of life crashing in. I'm not sure. But, it is different. Clenched fists are gone. Grinding teeth have stopped. Things are different. Oh, don't get me wrong. I've lived my life nestled among the words of this post. The struggles are real.

Yet, I have come to know that reality and humanity have just as much to do with the spiritual and the divine. They were never meant to be separated. We know this because we just witnessed it. The incarnation. God in human form.

But we forget it. We go out and live our lives as if we have to be God. We leave behind the reality of human"ness" and act as if we can actually "live like Jesus." I now know that's not true.

When I look at my list of hopefullies, I'm not looking through a rose colored lens anymore. I see clearly - no filter. I see rough edges not feathery filtered images. I see streaks and shatters and missing corners and over exposed portions.

My hopefully is not masked with a faith that lies to me. Faith does not lie. The gospel is truth. And the truth is, we are not God. We are humans. We do our best, but at the end of the day we are left with ourselves. I don't know about you, but I have lots of regrets and stacks of apologies I have yet to make.

Interestingly though, this is not a depressing message. You might think, how in the world is there any hope in all of this?

The hope is this. There is Hope. Hope has come, and it's not the fake, happy clappy hope we over dramatize and then feed others when we don't know what else to say. I'm done with pat answers and lame assurances.

Hope has come, we don't need lame answers.

Hope has come.

We don't need to fill our lists with all the hopefullies that are wrapped up with translucent ribbon. Our hearts see through them anyway.

We can be honest. We can face our fears, our struggles, our realities. We don't need to pretend.

Hope came.

Hope is here.

The Hope that came down as a baby is still here.

Hope is here, scarred and bruised...just like you and just like me.

Hope is here, begging God...just like you and just like me.

Hope is here, knowing suffering and knowing pain.

Hope is here, knowing the realities of harsh lives and empty hands.

Hope is here, knowing cold hearts and doubting minds.

Hope is here, in the midst of it all, never going away, always loving, forever holding on, to you and to me.

All of our hopefullies have already been met in Hope. The gospel is everything you have ever longed for. No empty promises...just one Promise to cover an eternity of unfulfilled hopefullies.