At first, I thought I should write “I am very fickle.” That statement is indeed true - I change my mind more frequently than a rodent reproduces (which is to say a lot) - but I think, also, that life, such as it is, is just as volatile as me.
This blog has been plagued with my constant flip-flopping between complaints and praises of my escapades and adventures of the past three months. As of three weeks ago, I decidedly hated Vancouver and wanted to return home as soon as my money ran out. Lately, however, I’ve started to appreciate this city, the friends I have made here, and the simple fact that I am able to have this experience.
And so life is fickle. What I mean is, I inherently know all the good things about being here. I know that I am blessed that I am financially able to live here, that I am able to study under and meet renowned academics and authors and illustrators, that the people in my program are lovely and friendly and funny and all-around wonderful additions to my life. I know all of these things, but sometimes life makes you forget about them momentarily.
The age-old expression, attributed to the great Forrest Gump, that “shit happens” is true. No matter how much you like your current circumstances, no matter how careful you are to avoid the terrible, life makes you feel awful sometimes. And no amount of positive thinking can change that.
However, my point is this, and I do have one: No matter how bad the bad gets, the good always seems to outweigh it. Always. The smallest good thing - a spontaneously upsized coffee at Starbucks, an unexpected and cheery email from a friend you haven’t heard from in a while, hearing your favourite song on the radio - can turn the blackest day a few shades lighter.
I think this is because, if I were to define it, happiness is hope, and sadness is the absence of it. And I think there is nothing more tragic, more difficult, more painful in this world than to be without hope. If I think of times I felt genuinely sad and depressed, the common thread is that I felt hopeless. To be without hope is to feel as though there is nothing else but the feeling of emptiness, the belief that the void in your heart can never and will never heal. It is a scary, bitter thought.
I once heard someone say that they disagreed with 1 Corinthians 13:13 which says “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” They said that they believed hope was the greatest, because doesn’t hope give us the ability to love? And I thought that was quite profound.
I am pleased to report that I am very hopeful. A slew of recent events have most definitely lead me to feel so confident and fulfilled - there are wonderful people in this world, and I am privileged enough to know some of them and call them friends.
I am hopeful about my future. I have hope because there are people, smart people, who have hearts for the hurting, words for the downtrodden, and love for the empty. I am hopeful in Christ, because I cannot possibly know all there is about him, except that He is real, he is big and vast and knows no boarders or rules or regulations.
I used to think that I was a “glass just half” kind of person, a realist, but now I know that I am “half-full.” I am full of hope.