Hope Glimmers

The phone calls go from bad to worse, and I'm left shaking in my office. Tears stream. My office mate weeps. The graphic designer weeps. The membership director holds me tight. I rant about suffering and unfairness, blame Him for sorrow, ask why and why and why. They cry with me. We share a packet of Kleenex.

My sister calls late, shrill ringer startling dark house, and I ask again, belaboring the point, "Why? Why does suffering have to exist? He could stop it, you know. He has the power to stop it.”

Jeanine reminds me of the Lazarus story. "Jesus wept," she tells me. "I always remember that line; I always remember that He wept. Because that tells me He knows. He feels our pain. He's been there, too."


A whirlwind journey northward to wait long vigil as surgeon cuts and sews. Saturday night late I say goodbye, clasping her hand as I sit for a moment on the bed, all small talk quiet now. I kiss soft cheek, press my cool skin against her warm flush. Smile bright. I'm not the hugging type. But I can't let go.

Hospital hallway lights sear sharp as we stumble to the elevator. There are others inside that cold metal box, but I don't, I can't, look up. Glimpse only pink crocs and worn Asics as elevator shudders, stomach-dipping down.

I walk past empty waiting room chairs lined neatly against the wall, my arms braced across chest, through whoosh of automatic doors into dark, moist, Minnesota air. Bugs swarm florescent parking garage lights.


The boys and I hit highway 35 and head south – seven hours from Minnesota to Nebraska. Seven hours to think as Scooby Doo squawks from the backseat and fields of corn ripple in August heat.

We pull off in Albert Lea, walk hand-in-hand across truck stop parking lot full of RVs, Subarus with bikes stacked on back. Shania twangs from loudspeakers at the gas pumps. Inside we smell pancakes on the griddle, glimpse families shoulder to shoulder in plastic booths, forkfuls dripping syrup.

The boys beg to eat in the diner. I say no and pull them toward the restroom.

Back on the highway I watch black tar and freshly painted white lines disappear beneath the bumper. Orange construction cones dot the center and flash past perfect, unfurling miles ahead into wavy heat.

The road back to Nebraska is straight and easy, and I wonder, as I drive, why can’t life be like that too? Straight. Easy. No map needed. Why does life turn so twisted? Why does it plunge so deeply? Leave us hanging, splintered?

The boys request a CD. I slide one from the visor that’s labeled "trip music" in Brad's script. Rowan sings Maneater – the Hall and Oates version – from the back seat as he watches haystacks out the window. I smile at his tinny voice, mercilessly off key.

"Why does it say, 'Watch out boy she'll cheer you up?' he asks, puzzled. And I laugh out loud when I tell him it's actually, "Watch out boy she'll chew you up." He seems strangely satisfied with this explanation.

Noah points out a dog in a red sports car passing by, and we all laugh to see the Great Dane, his head straight out the sunroof like a sphinx, jowls flapping in highway wind.

I remember the highway sign I saw 200 miles back – Hope in white letters against emerald green.

And I feel it, a breath. Faint. But there.

Hope glimmers as I glimpse windmill blades spin against Iowa wind, cartwheeling across plains, shadow chasing shadow over rolling fields of gold.

Hope glimmers as I glimpse gold-tassled corn, spread like a wide, sunny beach atop green hills.

Hope glimmers as I glimpse black-eyed susans, goldenrod and buttercups,  nodding faces lining the highway ditch.

Mile after mile, blanket of gold. I follow the yellow brick road toward home.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die,
a time to plant, and a time to uproot,
a time to kill, and a time to heal,
a time to tear down, and a time to build,
a time to weep, and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn, and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep, and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love, and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time of peace.

What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

holy experience

Melissa | Madabella: made beautiful  – (August 6, 2010 at 5:36 AM)  

Oh dear friend. he keeps every tear in a bottle and he knows. i don't understand loss and grief and sorrow. i just know He bore them for us....

hugging you tight because I AM the hugging type!

hope glimmers and glistens and guides us home...you are so right.

Cassandra Frear  – (August 6, 2010 at 5:39 AM)  

This is what I'm talking about! Your writing is getting so much stronger.

I like the passion in this piece.

Red Letter Believers  – (August 6, 2010 at 6:05 AM)  

"The road to Hope"

It can be as lonely as a Nebraska two-lane at 2 a.m.....

but it's the only road we have

Nancy  – (August 6, 2010 at 7:17 AM)  

I don't quite know how to respond to this. I've walked those hospital walls, I've felt the weight of that phone call, that drive. Your words brought it all back. I both want to comment on the beauty of your writing, but also on the pain and grief. I grieve with you this morning. Thankful God is giving you grace to see those glimmers of hope. Blessings.

Diane Kacvinsky –   – (August 6, 2010 at 7:17 AM)  

I am so there with you. But I am a hugger. I will be thinking of you this afternoon as I take my beloved dog and put her into God's hands.

T.J.  – (August 6, 2010 at 8:09 AM)  

What an amazing piece of writing here. I hate to know that you and your family are in pain and that hope for a moment was fleeting, but the words you used to express it all are raw and real and beautiful. May Hope and the Lord's mercy continue to begin flooding this sad situation.

How do you do with hugs from a distance, then ;) XXXXXXXX !!!!!

emily wierenga  – (August 6, 2010 at 8:20 AM)  

oh Michelle... this makes me ache... your writing is exquisite, but oh so sad, and i'm praying, friend. don't give up, for He is good. even when life is bad. praying for bright flickers of hope amidst the dark. ((i'm so glad you linked up))

Nancy  – (August 6, 2010 at 9:21 AM)  

wow... that was powerful and so real. I felt that I was there with you. feeling what you were feeling.

Charming's Mama  – (August 6, 2010 at 10:42 AM)  

Both my parents are gone now and I know that there is hope even in losing, because we long for our someday reunion. Blessing my friend, beautifully said.

Lyla Lindquist  – (August 6, 2010 at 1:05 PM)  

I just walked across that same Albert Lea parking lot a few weeks ago, I'm guessing.

Praying for you and your family.

Grace on the Narrow Path  – (August 6, 2010 at 2:21 PM)  

My dear friend, my mother went to Heaven last October. I remember the same feelings and I also remember the words "Jesus wept". It is difficult to understand the pain and suffering in this world . . . thank God that HE is with us through it all.
Blessings to you,
PS I am following Graceful now.

alicia  – (August 6, 2010 at 3:06 PM)  

I found your place while blog hopping through High Calling blogs. I feel your pain in your beautiful words. I am sorry for the pain you are experiencing, but join you in finding hope.
Many blessings to you today.
Offering you hugs today from nearby in Nebraska.
(am your latest follower)

Rebecca Ramsey  – (August 6, 2010 at 4:12 PM)  

What a beautiful, powerful piece. Michelle, I'm sorry for what has happened. Thank you for sharing your experience and the hope that glimmers through it.

Suz  – (August 6, 2010 at 5:48 PM)  

I am grieving with you also. It is not easy and no one, no matter what they say, can know what you are going through or feeling.

I lost my mother (isn't that a strange phrase? You don't lose them like you lose your keys. They are lost to you in your life but they are found by Christ in Heaven.)

It does get more bearable but not easier, if you know what I mean.
Let me know if there is anything I can do.

Kristi  – (August 6, 2010 at 6:11 PM)  

I am so sorry Michelle. The times in my life when I have suffered, I have gained wisdom and love, and have experienced miracles.

Life is never easy or fair, but there is a purpose and a plan.

Love, Kristi

Laura  – (August 6, 2010 at 10:30 PM)  

This post reminds me of the line of a song: When you can't trace His hand, trust His heart.

He is the very heart of Hope; we're hopeless without Him.

Thanks for sharing, Michelle.

Melinda  – (August 6, 2010 at 11:08 PM)  

A beautiful piece...I felt your loss right in yout words as well as humor and blessed hope.

Ed Pilolla  – (August 7, 2010 at 11:19 AM)  

the ultimate questions, and the road to peace we inevitably follow, and inevitably find something worthwhile on. somehow, we find that hope.
your writing is so good. your vision has my world down too.

Cheryl  – (August 7, 2010 at 4:46 PM)  

Sending love and prayers your way.

Ash  – (August 7, 2010 at 4:59 PM)  

I feel rather like I'm invading your private moment - such an incredibly written piece - as I'm a new visitor from The Red Dress Club, but oh my, so moving.

I'm so very sorry for your heartache. You're in my thoughts for peace.

Duane Scott  – (August 8, 2010 at 12:57 AM)  

You were 45 minutes from my house... I'm bummed out. Next time you make that trip, let me know.

This was a wonderfully written blog post.

Claudia  – (August 8, 2010 at 3:22 AM)  

such a sad situation - and yet you manage to sound so hopeful in the words you write down - seeking him - trusting him..your write reflects a "yes" for his ways - beautiful

Southern Gal  – (August 8, 2010 at 6:46 AM)  

Praying everything is OK with you and yours.

Andrea  – (August 8, 2010 at 8:45 PM)  

I have missed you, too. It has been crazy here. Thank you for your faithfulness to pray, encourage, and visit my blogs.

Melinda  – (April 27, 2011 at 10:50 AM)  

A beautiful piece...I felt your loss right in yout words as well as humor and blessed hope.

Diane Kacvinsky –   – (April 27, 2011 at 10:50 AM)  

I am so there with you. But I am a hugger. I will be thinking of you this afternoon as I take my beloved dog and put her into God's hands.

emily wierenga  – (April 27, 2011 at 10:50 AM)  

oh Michelle... this makes me ache... your writing is exquisite, but oh so sad, and i'm praying, friend. don't give up, for He is good. even when life is bad. praying for bright flickers of hope amidst the dark. ((i'm so glad you linked up))

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