Of Hopes & Dreams

The other morning when I was looking at my "memories" on Facebook, I saw one that I posted from February 2017, just a few months after we moved to Austin, TX. 

The post included several videos from my middle son Jackson's regional choir performance in 7th grade.  

He'd only been in the choir at his school for less than two months and had already earned a spot in the regional choir, which was made up of the best singers in the city.  We were all proud of him, but no one in our family was as proud as my mom. 

At that time, she was already showing the signs of the illness that would take her life just eight months later, but she was in the crowd with the rest of us, cheering Jackson on. 

I still remember turning to her and seeing the tears in her eyes and the scrunched look on her face that she would get when she tried not to cry.  At the time, it choked me up, too.  She said softly, "I'm so proud of him."

My dream when we moved to Austin was for my mom to be able to not only be near her two youngest grandsons but to live with us and share their school-aged years with them. 

That was one of the happy moments when I felt like all was right with the world and everything was going to be better than I had imagined. 

But life, like our dreams, doesn't always unfold as we hoped.  

As I watched those videos today, I was reminded of that sad fact, and I also found myself feeling a whole range of emotions, not the least of which was guilt, mixed with sadness and a dose of anger. 

As it turns out, grief is one of the most confounding emotions humans can feel---even more than love, I've come to believe. 

Even now, six years after those videos were taken, I found myself slipping back into a sense of lostness and sorrow over what could have been, what was supposed to have happened, at least according to my plans. 

What I've come to understand is that these feelings are essential. They remind me how much I loved my mom and how much I cared about the dream I had for all of us--a dream that had to change but is still alive in some way within me. 

No matter what hardships or challenges I've faced since that time, I still carry the joy that I felt on that day, sitting next to my mom and watching her weep because her dreams for her grandson and her whole family had come true. 

The Apostle Paul tells us we "do not mourn as those who have no hope." I agree wholeheartedly with him, despite my sadness today.  

The hope that I  have---that I had on that day six years ago--is with me and always will be. And hope is more powerful than grief, more powerful than death.  It is the engine of life if I might be so bold. 

May any of you who feel lost and alone today know the hope that comes from knowing that this is not the end---whatever "this" you might be experiencing.  God is still in the resurrection business. 

May it be so.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 

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