I’m the “she” Haley talks about in this post. Haley and I dream about a lot of things, but for all our dreaming, this girl is one of the most grounded friends I’ve ever had. She challenges me, pushes me, corrects me, laughs at me, and doesn’t let me ever, ever, ever hope in anything less than the gospel, straight up. She loves the word of God, delights in it like a small child, studies it with the fervor of a scholar, and rests in it with the confidence of a disciple. She writes here.
We talk of many things. Serious things. Funny things. Sad things. Joyful things. Empty things. Hope-filled things.
Some times when we talk we talk about house things. Not appliances or DIY projects for the living room or yard, but whole houses.
Sometimes it is the old house in New England with the wrap around porch, a porch swing in the front and two hammocks in the back. There are chickens and a vegetable garden and dogs. We live in this house, the two of us, no longer as young as we were when we first met. Her hair is still as crazy as it was, but there are streaks of silver mixed in with the auburn and chestnut, and mine is still as stick straight as ever, but amidst the gold there is now white. In the absence of families birthed of our own bodies we have chosen to create family together here. We wile away evenings warming hands with mugs of tea, and begin mornings with coffee on the back porch with the dogs at our feet. We sit sipping tea on an evening in May, and our eyes and smiles meet, because somehow this day has become real.
Sometimes it is the old house in New England with the wrap around porch, a swing in the font and a tree house in the back. There are chickens and a vegetable garden and dogs. The screen door flies open as her brood of curly haired children come spilling out and run down the wide front steps and collide with the toe headed brood just escaped from the station wagon parked in front of the house. She pushes open that same screen door with one hand, while her other holds his. She smiles at something he’s said as they come to a stop on the top porch step as the kids merge into one big mob halfway between car and porch. I wait, my hand in his on the other side of this little sea of life we’ve created, smiling over the tops of curly mops and toe heads. Our eyes and smiles meet, hers and mine, because somehow this day has become real.
We talk of these house shaped things and in them I see hope. The houses are not the hope, but each image speaks of hope. And if I’m honest each house contains false hope.
Because houses crumble, no matter how solid the foundation, when the foundation is anything less than the Gospel.
So we talk of many things. We talk of the fullness of life and the emptiness of life.
We talk about our house shaped hopes and the ways they both remind us of a God who knows us intimately and of how easy it is for the created things to become our hope instead of hoping in the One who created all.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
This hope to live full and love big burns deep. Sometimes it seems uncontainable, and other times I wish it were something I could ignore or even stop. Because hope in the ache of the emptiness hurts.
And to see emptiness here, now is to misunderstand both that for which I hope and that which is here and now.
It is true that I hope for those house shaped things and all the porches, chickens, dogs, swings, and maybe even children and husbands that go with them.
But they are not what I hope in. They are not who I hope in. They are not who we hope in, nor are they the sustainer or fulfiller of that hope.
Hope takes the shape of the One who knows my heart and my head more intimately than I could ever hope to. Hope takes the shape of the God-Man whom death could not defeat. Hope takes the shape of the Comforter who is with me and whispers, “Hope, beloved, hope.”