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Friday, January 6, 2017

Winter Comfort

Harboring Hope

When hope is not pinned wriggling onto a shiny image or expectation, it sometimes floats forth and opens.”
Anne Lamott

From the comments I received on yesterday's blog about sleep, I see that I am not alone in the dark. The world is chock full of lurching, sleep-deprived zombies! No wonder we're all in such a bad mood!

Another contributor to our bad mood is winter weather. The cold, and especially snow, adds another level of stress to an already stressed out population. With snow in the forecast, I went to the grocery store yesterday to shop for an ailing friend, and honestly, you'd have thought the end-times were upon us and nobody could count on the rapture. I was hit twice by shopping carts—little old ladies hell-bent on getting to the bread aisle. That is a mystery of the universe, isn't it? What's with the bread and milk thing? My friend, Anna, who hails from Meridian, Mississippi, explained it to me last night. She grew up eating “Milk Toast” in cold weather. Apparently, at least in Mississippi, a place where it almost never snows, Milk Toast is the Southern equivalent of snow ice cream. It involves making a piece of buttered toast and putting it in the bottom of a bowl. Then heat milk, butter, and sugar to scald, and pour it over the toast. In other words, it's sweet comfort food. And I just thought milk toast described somebody with no spine! Now we know!

So what does all this have to do with hope? Not one thing. But we're so mired in pessimism, I want to keep writing about hope every day. One of the things that Anne Lamott points out is that hope, tied to a particular outcome, is not hope at all, but a cloaked desire to control. When we want to control what happens, when we want things to go our way, the way that we have deemed “right,” we are not trusting God, or the Universe, to bring what is in our best interest or the best interest of the world's people.

I'm as guilty of this as anyone on this planet—I think I know what needs to happen, and by-god, that's the only outcome that is going to satisfy me. When I heard our President-elect say at his New Year's Eve party, “I know things other people don't know,” I cringed. What he did was speak without the filters of good taste or self-restraint, what we all think but don't say. “I know what is best. I know how it should be done. If things went the way I think they should, we'd all be better off.” I don't know about you, but I'm not that smart—and neither is he, I'm afraid. So hope is what we've got to work with. And hope, paired with prayer, hard work, and self-examination, is enough. Hope, and Milk Toast! That's how we'll get through this winter!

                                                       In the Spirit,

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