The Single Journey: dishes, breakdowns, and choosing hope
"Many changes in life are small enough to be dismissed as trivial, although at times they may add up to something more substantial and consequential." (Stevan Vago)
Last week I was at the goodwill half price sale (love those days) and I came across the most charming set of dishes. I quickly fell in love with them and quickly put them in my cart. As I continued to search throughout the store for additional finds I looked down with a smile at my $7.00 set of dishes. They were just perfect. They were cute, a little shabbychic, and a little vintage. I could imagine having them in my cute little home where they would be perfect.
But then it hit me.
I didn't have my own apartment or house right now as I am truly in an "in between phase". Where would these dishes go? Heaven knows that I already have way too many things in storage so I couldn't use them there. Ah ha! A solution- we could use them at camp or my mom could use them in her house. I texted my mom but she wrote me back saying that she didn't want the dishes for either place. Since I had no where to go with them I knew that I needed to put them back but I admit it... I was torn. It wasn't about the dishes at that moment. To me it was about what they represented. I was ready to be out of "this phase" of waiting for some answers to come, waiting for my health to be at a better stage, waiting for the guy... I wanted what these dishes represented.
Sighing, I took the dishes back to where I had gotten them where I ran into this cute, bubbly, perfect woman who was around my age. As I started to lift the dishes out of the basket back to the shelf she said, "Excuse me- are you putting those dishes back?" I said, "yes, I am". She asked me if she could have them and as I was helping her put them in her cart she started to excitedly talk about how she was engaged, getting married in a couple of months, and was setting up her first home. As she kept bubbling over with excitement I was nodding my head and saying congratulations but I was also trying to not cry. I didn't do a very good job and I hastily made my way out of the store with tears streaming down my face.
I talked with several dear friends about this incident and they had the sweetest and most encouraging words. All of them are going through their own heartaches- infertility, singleness, health issues, financial strain, marriage stress. They all explained their own "dishes moment" and I was extremely comforted. I was encouraged. I was relieved that I was not the only one that has a "moment". But I admit it that I was also a little resentful. I have been feeling inside of me this deep frustration of "when is it going to be my time"?
And then yesterday happened.
At my doctors office yesterday I met a 14 year old who is struggling with the same health issues that I am. While our health issues are not life threatening they are life changing and debilitating at times and my heart broke for this young woman whose life is so altered. As I listened to her talk with her mom in the office about her biggest dream (being well enough to go to her middle school dance this year) tears gathered in my eyes.
And my heart broke.
I was reminded once again that in all of life there are beautiful days and there are extremely rough and painful ones that we might never want to live over. There are definitely the highs and lows but at some point and in some way God reaches out and touches our hearts in only ways that He can. That somehow in the moments of life that are hellish and difficult the Lord shows up. That in those moments of change our hearts are reminded of the truth of hope.
Of choosing to hope.
This hope that we choose might appear trivial but in reality it will become something more substantial and consequential.