A light rain falls on my way into work. The pavements that only a few weeks ago were piled high with dirty snow are now clear, even the puddles are gone. Spring is in the air.
The winter has taken its toll. Everyone you meet is oh so tired. They speak of going to bed at nine at night and still waking up exhausted. But there is hope. Hope in clear sidewalks. Hope is shrinking piles of dirty, pollution-filled snow. Hope in rising temperatures. Hope in goslings and geese. Hope in new babies and new life.
Three years ago I wrote about hope being in middle of the well-known verse from the Bible in the New Testament book of Corinthians: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.”* I wrote these words and I remember them today:
I’ve often wondered why ‘hope’ is in the middle. There’s faith on the one side – faith in all its strength, setting a foundation. There’s love at the end – love as a benediction, a blessing, put at the end and recognized as the greatest of the three. Then there’s hope. And hope is in the middle. It is neither foundation nor benediction.
Its place in the verse is symbolic of hope’s greatest gift, for hope is most needed in the middle. I need hope most when I am in the middle of a crisis. At the beginning my adrenaline kicks in and I run on autopilot doing what I need to do to survive. Towards the end of a crisis, I know I have gone through the worst and I have survived. But in the middle? In the tunnel that is the middle I am at the end of myself. There seems to be no future, no help, no hope. This, then, is where I need hope.
Hope in the middle of chemotherapy for cancer.
Hope in the middle of the nightmare of losing a child.
Hope in the middle of a messy divorce.
Hope in the middle of addiction recovery.
Hope in the middle of the night when echoes of loss or sadness keep us from sleep.
Hope in the middle of a move, the middle of the journey, the middle of life, the middle of chaos. Hope.
So there is hope. Hope in the middle; the in between where spring is not quite here but winter has gone.
And for me, what in my faith tradition is the greatest hope of all – the season of Lent. A season that leads me through denial of self, to death on a cross, to that hope of all hopes – a glorious resurrection.
*1 Corinthians 13:13a