13 September 2006

The Arrogance of Hope

The twilight bark has commenced in our neighborhood. Those of you who read or watched 101 Dalmatians in your youth will know what this means. Sam, our dog, thinks he has the deepest, loudest voice and he should be the captain. It's very difficult to maintain a complicated train of thought during the twilight bark.

Today has been another difficult day here. I gave the LightChildren the day off. I dealt with a myriad of details pertaining to a multitude of things. In the end though I have to say I didn't do much. I took LightBoy to his Latin class and LightGirl shopping. She is need of clothing to accommodate her new punk look (I cannot fathom what that means to the current generation, but it's different than what it meant to mine). I couldn't locate the store in the mall until we'd walked past it twice. We have reached that era of shopping where she picks out clothes and tries them on and it's my job to stand around. And watch her feet under the dressing room door. And listen to her talk. And pay.

Mostly I examined a wound in my soul. It's one I don't dare look at too often. Like the really bad scrape you got on your knee as a child when you rode your bike in a place you knew you oughtn't and the bad thing that your parents predicted would happen did. Then you have an ugly wound that you don't dare be proud of and look at, but it's ... there and frightening in it's power. We all have those wounds on our souls, created when something or someone profoundly dear to us was lost forever.

In my case, the examination focussed on the questions, "Why?" and "How?" I have eternally asked these questions, which may be boiled down to, "What if ...?" I nearly drove my mother crazy with such questions when I was young. Now I'm left to ponder them on my own and I ask them about larger issues. But here is what I was asking myself as I pressed in on my wounds, "Why does God love us?" and "How does He express that love?" There were other questions too. For instance, "If God does love me, why did He choose to take person X or Y out of my life?" I never have any answers for these questions. I suppose this makes me a terrible theologian, not that I have any training at all. It probably also makes me a sort of heretic.

There was a time when it was important for me to have answers and I made some up. Or, rather, I found some people who did. I've since realized that they didn't really answer the questions I was asking. I've also realized that having concrete answers isn't all that important anymore. That healing can happen without answers.

I know a very few things now about God. I know He does love his creation, among which is me. I know that I cannot fathom the manner in which He expresses that love. It makes no sense to me. My perspective is too narrow. Too all about me. I know that I am to hope even when that hope is arrogant.

When one considers hope, it is indeed arrogant. To be sure of a good outcome in the face of overwhelming odds is the definition of arrogance. And yet, we all do this everyday. The very act of putting my feet on the floor bespeaks the hope that today will be. I face the day each day with the hope in my heart that at the end my family will be whole, that no tragedy will befall us. Yea, tis not just hope. This is hope which borders on arrogant knowledge for I cannot know the outcome of one moment to the next, one hour to the next, or one day to the next.

King Of The Wind is a book about the origins of a breed of racehorse. It begins with a quote: "The horse, he sayeth to the trumpets, ha ha." I first read this when I was 8 and it has stuck with me ever since. Yet I believe that is what we are called to do. In the face of overwhelming odds, a world full of forces arrayed against us, we are to say, "Ha ha." We are not to do this out of spite, or because we are captains of all we survey, but because when the chips are down, and all is black and despite everything else, in some mysterious and unquantifiable manner God does have our back. Those we love most dearly may be in great pain for years upon years, or taken away, and events of nonsensical proportions occur. Yet we still get out of bed each morning and say into the trumpets, "ha ha." The arrogance of hope.


Blogger Free Flying Spirit said...

I know a definition of hope I will put on my blog - spiritual motion.

It has offered me a way to 'see' an new understanding of hope. I suppose there are many and each will look at it from a different angle. God did make us unique.

I had not of hope as being arrogant, but this will help me watch what I am doing in this aspect of my life.

You are not alone in the 'wonderings' of the faith.

Thank you for this post.

9/21/2006 12:10:00 AM  

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