Hope is the Thing with Feathers

A poem that I thought you might like:

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Hope is the Thing with Feathers

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune–without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Emily Dickinson

Hope, believing in better times ahead, is what sustains me through the dark nights of depression. When all hope seems gone, and everything seems pointless, a small, uncertain sort of hope carries me through. That hope, for me, is in Christ, in his love for me and for all, in his triumph over death and suffering, and his promise of life, here and in the future. I’m sure some people would view my faith, which came to me in suffering, is a crutch, something I used to support myself when I was ill, not something that a proper adult should do, a reasoning and rational human. Perhaps it is – I certainly lean on Christ when my own strength fails, and find in him something I cannot find in myself or in another human being. Perhaps it doesn’t matter – that Christ is for me a staff of comfort and healing does not mean that he is…I don’t know, non-existent? a product of my own mind?

We boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 2b-5)

I can’t say that I glory in my suffering, but I have learned that I am not able, in my own strength, to save myself, either from depression or from death. That, at least, bipolar has taught me – I must lean on others, whether in the world, those who care for me and give me treatments for my illness, and in that other world, in the realm of God, that I must lean on him, as we all must do.

For those who do not have hope: may hope visit you tonight, and God himself sing to you  in your sleep. Our God, who loves us and has saved us, may You grant hope to the hopeless, and life to those who are dead. May all those who suffer know rest this night, and, with the new day, walk forth into newness of life and spirit. In the name of Christ, amen.

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