Stubborn hope

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“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.” -Anne Lamott

Hope – with it we are able to take that first step forward. It is so very important but it is not something that is always easy to obtain. Rising up from the deepest place within us, hope requires work and determination.

Recently I have been aware of how much energy is required to be hope-full. I am now a breast cancer survivor(x3). I have been a survivor since the day I learned of my first diagnosis 19 years ago. This was four days before I celebrated my 40th birthday and having breast cancer was the farthest thing from my mind. 

That is how it happens. While moving through life with plans and ambitions, the path changes, abruptly and with little warning. In a single moment on a normal afternoon, I was told I had breast cancer – a diagnosis that would change my life forever. Enveloped in the bright light of a doctor’s office, all plans dropped away – priorities shifted – I started living as a survivor.

So I have found myself once again inthat single moment. In December I sat under the bright lights of a new doctor’s office to hear I had breast cancer again. Being a survivor feels empowering and overwhelming.  In my experience it does not matter how often you face a new diagnosis the resolve to continue life as a survivor has to be made anew. 

I am inspired by the survivors I have known and know today.  These women and dear friends have shared their living stories with honesty and extraordinary courage. During my new ‘single moment’ I honor and remember these amazing women. They have taught me much about living life to the fullest from day one.

Hope does find a way. From learning of the first test results I learned how hope would reinforce the ground underneath my nervous stance. I know this “stubborn hope” that Anne Lamott describes. It is what stirs the courage to take my next step in life. When the news seems unbearable and the options for healing sound impossible hope has been there.

Like a seed planted deep into the ground, hope has taken root within, creating a strong foundation to support my steps toward the gentle light of Dawn.

(This video is one of my favorites. It has been my inspiration on more than one occasion.)

That missing piece


“Sweetheart, when you lose someone, you lose a little bit of yourself, too. And that missing piece? Sometimes you have to lose the rest of yourself to find it.”

Ally Carter, My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

Photo – Ashes and Snow (Gregory Colbert)

To dress in gentleness – in loving memory of Mattie Collie

A gentle person treads lightly, listens carefully, looks tenderly, and touches with reverence. A gentle person knows what true growth requires. A gentle person knows that true growth requires nurture, not force. Let’s dress ourselves with gentleness. In our tough and often unbending world our gentleness can be a vivid reminder of the presence of God among us. —Henri Nouwen

In loving memory of my dear friend, Mattie Collie. Her unwavering faith and gentle healing spirit brought wholeness to many who sought her care.  Her heart was filled to the brim with love and compassion for each person graced by her presence. 

You are forever missed, Mattie and we forever blessed by knowing you. 

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In a dream…

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For the dead, still close. And for the living… (thank you, Brian Cole)

A Meeting In A Part – by Wendell Berry

In a dream I meet
my dead friend. He has,
I know, gone long and far,
and yet he is the same
for the dead are changeless.
They grow no older.
It is I who have changed,
grown strange to what I was.
Yet I, the changed one,
ask: “How you been?”
He grins and looks at me.
“I been eating peaches
off some mighty fine trees.”

I had such a dream this week. She met me in a doorway, filling the space like a picture frame. Her presence took my breath, her gentle hold gathered me in comfort. 

As if it were yesterday- she was the same in image and presence. For a moment I was filled with the familiar – deep love and possibility. Then only too soon our differences were realized. I welcomed her reminder that all is well both in my world as in hers. 

These dreams/visits are gifts. They shed the burden of time leaving the dreamer and the dreamed held in a moment meant only for them. A moment free of grief’s heavy weight or the cautious stretch to ‘remember when’. 

I had such a dream this week. It left me grateful for the gift of memories and of healing enabled by time. 

For all who have known the loss of loved ones-may you find comfort in such dreams.