Psalm 131 “O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and for evermore.”
What is the frame out of which my everyday decisions are formed? Sometimes it is the covenant, that I am assured that he is our God and we are his people. Sometimes it is the grace I receive to be forgiven and start over again. Sometimes it is the glimpse I receive of goodness and awe in the midst of the most ordinary thing.
Today, as my bones scrape each other with soreness and my energy level dwindles, it is hope.
It is not hope that I will live a long time or that I will accomplish more things. It is that no matter what happens and how it happens, a future door is ajar that I can enter. It is the door that lets me touch holiness.
As I say my goodbyes to the Native youth with whom I work, I ask what they will remember in our twelve years together that gave hope.
One young man remembers when we went to the ocean during our mission trip. “We were getting knocked down by waves and laughing. Someone yells over the noise to join hands and race into the ocean. About five of us grabbed hands and dared the ocean to knock us down. It did and we laughed even harder. We got up and did it again and again. I don’t care that it knocked us down. We stood together and helped each get up again each time. We didn’t win against the ocean but we never gave up.”
Another young adult recalls our time serving meals to the homeless.” I kept putting eggs on the plates. Some of the homeless talked to me friendly like. Others kept their eyes down and were ashamed of being there. Some complained. After several hundred people had gone by, a child smiles at me and asks me if I am tired. I was so touched. I realized that I was no longer tired and there was no place I rather be. I think that God was in that place, gently breathing hope.”
It amazed me how many of the memories involved either our fun at the ocean or our service to the homeless. Both opened us up to the Holy that is always present.
One of the young men made this confession. “I was scared when you first said you were retiring. I thought of all the great times we had together and I was afraid there would be no more. But then I moved away and kept doing the things we have always done. To my surprise, I keep discovering wondrous things. My eyes are opened.”
So this is the hope in the LORD from this time forth and for evermore. In spite of doubts that emerge, I look forward to new days in the smallest of ways. The sacred is embedded in ordinary things.
Kaze Gadway has worked with the emerging leaders of the Episcopal Church within the Native American community of Northern Arizona as a volunteer for twelve years. They are youth of promise from ages twelve to twenty-four. The Spirit Journey Youth is an outreach program of the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona with forty young people. She is on Facebook and blogs at infaith’s posterous