Once upon a time, a mother and father had a baby girl. They loved her very much and named her Hope. Well, that was her middle name. Because her parents knew what was good and loved to read, as a girl she loved to read too. Sometimes the little girl ached to travel to the places she read about, and she knew that many of the ‘imaginary’ places she read about were actually real.
The little girl grew. She began to experience the joys of friendship, the pang of heartache, and the sting of strife. She had visions. She had dreams. She still believed in story.
The girl became a young woman. She went to college. She met and married the man of her dreams. She taught writing. She learned to write. It was a pleasure to learn the instruments of story. She and her husband had two beautiful children. Life was beautiful, with its new layers of complexity and responsibility and joy and heartache.
There was also much sadness and despair. The woman had three miscarriages. There was post postpartum depression that lasted a long time. There were other, different things that felt painfully like growing up. It happens all the time, the woman told herself. Worse things have happened to others. She could not pick up her pen. She forgot her dreams. She had no visions. She thought they were gone forever.
She turned to escape. She felt empty but she ignored it. Cynicism began walking next to her and she hardly noticed. But cynicism felt real and safe, like it wouldn’t lie and disappoint her, and she began to feel that the child-like heart that had once loved stories and seen the beauty in life was a joke.
There was no music. Stories evaded her. Life was dark.
But slowly, she began to see that cynicism was the lie. She didn’t realize it all at once, or even understand it at first. But slowly things changed. She saw the sun again. She began to remember music. Tears and laughter pierced her heart again. She went back to writing. Her pen was no longer burdensome and elusive, but exciting and energizing.
Then one day it burst upon her like a ray of light in the dark: the reason she could write again was hope.
She saw that her life was a story and, like all good stories, hope was the theme.
As I stumble down this adventure, I’m learning to look with clear eyes and dress with strength to meet the challenge. To see that things are bad at times, even desperate, but this is not the end. To look through dangers and grief and listen for the whispers of a bigger picture. To remember that hope isn’t an escape, but a direction.
So I write to remind myself of these things.
Because just like story itself, I am inextricably linked to my namesake: Hope.
I hope that when you visit here, you are reminded of hope, too.