I've been seeing it everywhere, all this short month long. "Hope." Pink wrist bands, pink on shopping bags, pink on teddy bears, pink on all kinds of silly stuff every time I turn around. Last Saturday, cruising the mall after a visit to the Hair Lady, my sister finally asked, "Is there really all of a sudden all this breast cancer stuff all over the place, or is it just me?"
I knew what she meant. On a less goofy level, it's the same thing as, when you finally get pregnant, you start seeing pregnant women everywhere. Like every freakin' one of 'em decided if you were going to do it, they were, too.
I was moderately relieved to be able to say, "Nope. Not you, shug. Just October."
Of course, there's a month for everything. October is Breast Cancer Awareness. Translation: All you retailers, jump on the Intimidation Bandwagon and Cash In!! But who cares? If one woman thinks about getting a mammogram because some damn fool bought her a Belkie Bear in a pink T-shirt, it's worth it.
Me, I got my Belkie Bear. My sister has hers. We haven't named them yet, although I'm scrolling through Lynn Redgrave's most memorable roles for a name for mine. My sister bought the bears (white plush, pink shirts, very huggy). I bought the Chanel No. 5. Cut of the take to S. Komen. Works for me. It's all about hope, right? Hope for a cure, hope for the future, hope for lifetimes that go 'way past when they would have a couple decades ago...
This weekend, I'm headed for a women's retreat at a monastery in Indiana. The focus for the weekend is "hope," and we have a list of things to bring, all of which mean "hope" for us. A scripture, reading, song, whatever. A used greeting card. A story.
As I started packing, I found myself looking for the "hope" in what I packed. It started out as, "What am I going to take? What defines 'hope' in my worldly possessions?" After a while, though, I had to laugh... Here's the list:
1. my "ASsK me" T-shirt - the question being, "Who is Aang San Sui Qi?" - in the hope of universal justice
2. my "peace" tank top from the Norma Kamali collection at WalMart - in the hope it will happen (even at WalMart)
3. my Cubs T-shirt - in hopes of breaking the Curse (hey, Ed has the Redskins and I have my Cubbies - so you family members who want to blow your diet Pepsi through your nose about now, stuff a sock in it! Super Bowl, World Series, whatever... ;-)
4. my jeans, in the hope of someday seeing "skinny" again
5. my western boots, in the hope that my knee isn't so bad I can never hope to shovel out a horse stall or sit in a saddle for hours
6. my guitar - in the hope that someday I'll be able to play and sing at the same time
7. my notebook - a.k.a. my "brain" - in the hope of a flash of brilliance that will translate into notes that will translate into something that will translate into a "WOW" from someone with the authority - and the money - to say, "Publish that, and send that woman a check!"
8. that song...
There's a song by Rich Mullins called "If I Stand." It's been stuck in my head for a month. The chorus goes:
If I stand, let me stand on the promise that You will see me through -
And if I can't, let me fall on the grace that first brought me to You.
If I sing, let me sing for the joy that has borne in me these songs,
And if I weep, let it be as one who is longing for her home.
Okay, I paraphrased a little. I doubt Rich minds. I'm sure the Almighty doesn't. Because that song is about my hope.
I'm clueless. I'm scared. I face tomorrow with trembling hands and knocking knees - every damned tomorrow of my life. Seriously. All I can hope for is what my gut tells me - that there's Something bigger than I am holding me up. There's a survival that has no logic to it, a quiet peace that has no reason but grace. There's a happiness that has no link to good sense - it's just there. And there is - I am sure - a place I've been, a place I started, a place to which I will return, where it will all make sense. So I don't have to think about why, or how. The Something that's bigger (and smarter) knows about all that and has it under control. Maybe not to change anything, maybe not to "make it all better" - but at least to be able to see the big picture. The "if this, then that." The logic, the karma, the all-comes-togetherness.
My hope and my trust are in the existence of the Something that can manage all of the above and then some. So I, in my anxiety-disordered, perfectionist humanity, don't have to.
Thanks be to G-d.