Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Hope: From Sunrise to Sunset

September 28, 2021, sunrise

Sometimes, it feels like God is trying to send a message on a direct line straight to you. For me, it happens when the same themes keep coming up in different contexts.

It started with one of my daily email devotionals from The Upper Room:

Today’s Reflection

What I have come to see is that there is nothing more important to human beings than hope. Certainly in our own day, many people live without explicitly religious faith. And evidence of loveless lives is tragically abundant. But people usually do not survive long without hope. They cannot, because hope is the very heart of a human being.

—Michael Downey, in Hope: It’s More Than Wishful Thinking, compiled and introduced by Amy Lyles Wilson

Today’s Question

When has hope sustained you?

Today’s Scripture

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

—Romans 15:13 (NRSV)

The "HOPE" theme has continued with spectacular sunrises and sunsets this fall. The latest one was just last evening. Since our house is tucked into trees all around, it's always "by guess and by gosh" moment when I look out the front door and contemplate whether it's worth driving down the road for an unobstructed view. 

Last night, it was definitely worth the effort. (I should have been a little quicker because the unique light that made it look like the sky was on fire only lasted for a few minutes.)

Just last week, I saw a Facebook post with a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote. I don't remember which friend posted it, but I saved it and  looked up the source (Collected Poems and Translations):

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety. Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in. Forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day: Begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitation, to waste a moment on yesterdays. 
Ralph Waldo Emerson from Collected Poems and Translations
October 4, 2021, sunrise
But the "HOPE" lessons weren't done. I've been reading Robert Dugoni's The World Played Chess, a coming-of-age novel in which one of the central characters is a Vietnam vet. I was an oblivious high school student at the end of the Vietnam War. And though this is a fictional account, I feel like I've learned a lot because of the well-researched novel. (It's not necessarily a book I would have gravitated toward, but Robert Dugoni wrote my favorite book of 2019, The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell.)

And I've found nuggets that the main character, William, shares with a younger friend, who then uses those lessons in his own life, as both a man and a parent. Last night's bedtime reading had me writing down page numbers to two different passages so I could find them again:

October 15, 2021 sunrise
... Learn to celebrate each morning that you wake, take a breath, and realize you're still alive and the day is filled with endless potential.
From The World Played Chess by Robert Dugoni

October 15, 2021 sunrise
... Mornings are strangely beautiful. The temperature is comfortable, and the air clear and crisp. I sucked in each breath, savoring it like a  cool drink of clean water. I could see color. The sky awakened with ribbons of red and orange, yellows and fuchsia. The color is always welcome. It means I'm still alive.
From The World Played Chess by Robert Dugoni

And seeing a spectacular sunset reminds me that we've made it through another day - despite interruptions, breakdowns, personnel issues ... whatever the day had in store.

September 29, 2021, sunset

Prayer for the Week

New every morning is your love, great God of light, and all day long you are working for good in the world. Stir up in us desire to serve you, to live peacefully with our neighbors and all your creation, and to devote each day to your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

May your day be filled with HOPE.

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