it won't always be like this

Hope had time to put on makeup, she drives a white minivan and wears clothes that aren’t stained in spit up and dried Cheerios.  She has elementary age kids who aren’t crying, her cart isn’t full of car seats and when she smiles at you and your fussy babies in the frozen food aisle you know that it will get better. There’s hope.

Hope sits across from you in small group and shares how excited he is about his brand new job, without knowing that in just a minute you will fight back the quiver in your voice as you tell them how you cleaned out your office last week and your final paycheck comes Friday.  Hope praises God for sustaining him in the wait and you know that it will get better.  There’s hope.

Hope smiles at her friends and sees something beautiful as they go about their daily grind.  She writes notes of encouragement that arrive days later with a real stamp and words that will be read over and over as they bleed love into broken places and call out beauty in those struggling to hold their head high, and they know that it will get better. There’s hope.

Day three of no shower, no energy, and no motivation is the day you look at Facebook wishing for a real connection.  Hope sent a message, said I miss you, I love you, you have worth and my life is better with you in it.  Hope said “I see you,” and you know that it will get better.  There’s hope.

Hope meets on short notice and pays for the coffee because she knows you well enough to hear the desperation in your voice.  She doesn’t know, really, because it’s shoes she has never worn but she listens intently with eyes that well up with love and spill over with compassion as you pour out your heart and she hears you and hugs you in a way that says I will walk this too and somehow you just know it won’t always be like this, it will get better.  There’s hope.

The addiction was done, you put it behind you.  You fought hard through the stress and demands on your day and in a moment of weakness your favorite distraction wasn’t as far gone as you thought.  Hope needs no explanation, no rationale.  Hope is your friend and he isn’t mad, but he holds the bar high and tells you you’ll fight this together because a healthy version of you is worth fighting for and you know that it will get better.  There’s hope.

Hope drops his pace when he approaches and says “me too.” He pretends not to notice you gasping for air as you rattle off excuses for the walk breaks and lead in your legs.  He pats your shoulder and says “let’s finish strong” and distracts you with stories of his kids and songs he sings loudly although he gets the words wrong.  Hope points out the finish line long before you can see it and you know it’s about to get better.  There’s hope.