I received a book in the mail today from a friend I met through the blog.
Multiple conversations have been had via email, with time and oceans in between, about issues of faith and justice and loss and hope and hopelessness and holding on. When I recently had a time of near blog-silence, she checked in to see how things were. She immediately hit right on the nature of the issues adding to the silence, and gracefully wrote words that echoed like prayers of acceptance of creative silence, and requesting of hopeful imagination.
And today, after waking up to run, pour a slow cup of coffee and then get back to work at Area Relief Ministries for the first time since mid-December, I walked in to see a package on my desk. I opened it up and immediately knew who it was from, as this friend had referenced the book in an email during those dry days.
The following is an excerpt, and the book itself, sitting on my desk in its packaging waiting quietly like the sneaky gift it was is now a reminder, of how the kingdom community is broader and larger and more powerful than I remember on most days. It is ebbing and flowing in and out of our quiet and alive places, keeping us moving and pushing forward, even when we aren’t sure why it’s worth it.
So to this friend, and the other friends of which there are many brave and marginalized kingdom-souls, who are willing to tell the stories of struggle in an effort to sing the true songs of hope, I cannot say thank you enough.
108 S Church
“Hope is rooted in the past but believes in the future. God’s world is in God’s hands, hope says, and therefore cannot possibly be hopeless. Life, already fulfilled in God, is only the process of coming to realize that we have been given everything we need to come to fullness of life, both here and hereafter. The greater the hope, the greater the appreciation of life now, the greater the confidence in the future, whatever it is.
But if struggle is the process of evolution from spiritual emptiness to spiritual wisdom, hope is a process as well. Hope, the response of the spiritual person to struggle, takes us from the risk of inner stagnation, of emotional despair, to a total transformation of life. … The spirituality of struggle gives birth to the spirituality of hope.”
from “Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope,” by J.D. Chittister