Hope and Expectation

I’m feeling a little overextended. Sounds odd, because I’m home more often than not, but the connected world we live in means it’s possible to have a full-ish plate without even venturing out. I say “full-ish” because what feels heavy to me might be nothing to someone else. And that’s okay. We’re allowed to be different, and it’s okay to make personal choices about how much we carry.

The sweetness of a slow January, in which I did little visible work and, instead, focused on healthy and much-needed inner work, left me with even less taste for busy for the sake of being busy. I think about going off-grid again. For now, I set boundaries.

In 2021, as we hold on to hope and inch toward spring, the world still groans. The world “out there” and the one I spend my days in, though my personal groaning has taken on a different cadence. Now there is change and renewed intention. Letting go and picking up. Thirst.

What is the difference between hope and expectation? The question is posed in a book I’m reading, and I sit with it for a while. I’m still pondering it.

Somewhere along the way I picked up the idea that after a time of drought, when it feels like my prayers fall to the floor with a discouraging thud, if I turn my face I’ll see the Divine has been there waiting for me to shift my attention back all along.

I see it in a different way now.

Even in the drought, when I’m parched and starving, maybe especially when I’m most famished, the Mystery still surrounds me. God isn’t waiting for me to get my spiritual act together. God sits with me in the muck of every day and, when the mud cakes on my feet and makes it hard to pick my foot up and take one more step forward, reminds me I’m loved and seen and held.

Sometimes we have to let go in order to see this.

What is the difference between hope and expectation? Maybe part of the answer has to do with where we put it. I don’t let go and hope I’ll be held, I let go and expect that because I’m beloved I won’t be left to climb out of the abyss by myself.

And so the rearranging continues and it’s not always comfortable, but it’s okay. No one said any of this was going to be easy.

Two things. That’s all I have to do. Love God and love people. And, yeah, neither of these is particularly easy all the time, but they are my better work. I don’t work at doing them in order to earn something, I try and fail and try again and keep trying because I am abundantly loved and it’s my natural response to knowing such love.

And when I stumble, and the dull thud of my prayers hitting the floor again echoes in the darkness, El Roi—the God who sees me—fills the empty spaces and holds me until I’m strong enough to try again. No condemnation. No turning away or waiting for me to get it together.

Just love and a Mystery I can’t turn away from.


I’m a writer, reader, and creative. I thought by now I’d have things figured out, but I keep coming up with more questions. I think that’s okay. I’m here most mornings pondering ordinary things and the thin places where faith intersects.
1 comment
  1. LOVE this! I’m off to share on LinkedIn …

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