When I think about the word hope, my mind is instantly flooded with music. To be fair, I think of most things in reference to some song or another. I wish I could blame it on the fact that I have a toddler who sings non-stop, but it’s actually something I’ve done for as long as I can remember. So, when I stopped to think about what exactly hope meant to me two things came to mind, a poem by Emily Dickinson and an old hymn I learned in church.
In the season my little family has just entered, these tunes enter my mind often, always sparking a bit of fire in my soul as I look to the things that are ahead of us.
Okay, so a poem isn’t technically music, but in my 10th grade English class we memorized Dickinson’s poem to the tune of a song and that’s how I always hear it in my head. As a 15 year old, I had no idea how lucky I was to memorize such meaningful words and how in the future they would bring me hope through times where it seemed otherwise forgotten. Dickinson’s poem "Hope is the Thing with Feathers" compares hope to a little bird in our soul that never stops singing, even through the struggles and storms of life. I find it so comforting to think of that little hopeful bird in my soul tweeting a sweet melody despite the fact that everything around me might feel like it’s crashing down. Hope is not conditional, it’s something that we can find within us no matter the circumstance, good or bad.
As I grew in years and life lessons, I realized where this little hopeful bird had come from. It had come from my personal relationship with God. That’s why the hymn, My Hope is Built on Nothing Less, is such a perfect melody to fill my soul in times of stress. One of the lines in the first verse is particularly meaningful since it reminds me to wholly trust in my God rather than what is going on around me. It’s easy to forget about that little hopeful bird in my soul when things in life are all going smoothly, but that’s not what hope really is. Hope is a constant, never changing and never wavering.
Right now my family is facing a whole list of unknowns, in fact the only thing we do know for sure is that our family will be growing in the next couple of weeks when my son decides to make his debut into the world. Yet, rather than letting fear dictate our steps as we journey forward, we are letting hope fill our ears and guide our actions. Maybe you need that reminder, like I often do, that when we have hope we have everything. So let songs fill your heart and your head to encourage you, drive you forward, and refocus you back to what is most important.