When I was in high school, a local furniture store gifted to all of the graduating senior girls a “miniature hope chest”. A hope chest is where, at least in bygone years, a young woman collected items—like household linens—that she’d use when she got married. Maybe the idea was that “hoping for” helped to create the desired outcome. (Not all that different from when I say, “thoughts become words and words become actions”.)
Customs and lifestyles have changed significantly in the past forty years but hope—whether that’s for a peace-filled home or meaningful relationships—still invades our consciousness. But, just as a trunk full of quilts certainly didn’t guarantee happy marriages, simply putting things in a giant “box” (virtual or actual) and expecting them to magically create the desired life doesn’t work either.
Hope is a desire that has yet to be fulfilled.
Hope is an expectation that a certain reality will take place.
Hope, as the saying goes, springs eternal in most of our souls.
Hope, sadly, is something too many have given up on.
I often try to manage the world, God. In my frail, human condition I, sometimes, put You in that hope chest, then close the lid and forget that You’re not supposed to be hidden away like a hand-embroidered tablecloth. You’re It. You’re real. You’re life. You’re the song I hum while I’m working, and the heart that breaks when I’m crying. You’re the mind that offers words when I’m writing and You’re the spirit that soars when I stop long enough to be with You.
One of the “things” in my hope chest is the desire to continue to create space for spirituality—not just twenty minutes each morning space, time I spend at church space, or moments when I’m inspired or kind or aware space but, rather, permanent space—the kind that you can lean into when you’re struggling, the kind you can rest on when you’re tired, the kind that envelops you when you’re depleted and ready to give up.
What does your hope chest look like?
Is it filled with relics from the past; dreams you thought would come true but are now buried under everything else?
Is it empty because you gave up believing that your desires would/could ever be realized?
Is it overflowing with so much junk that you can’t see the beautiful piece of fabric that was the younger you?
Do the hinges creak because it’s been years (or decades) since you’ve even tried to get it open?
Is the lid so heavy—weighed down by years of disappointment—that when you try, it slams down on your hand?
Is it hidden away so that you’re never even reminded that those dreams existed?
Pry open the lid.
Honor what’s been hiding there.
Take each “piece of you” out and ask, “Does this make sense for me now?”
If it does, decide how to weave it into your life.
If not, release it.
Transformation begins when you know who you are and what you desire in this life.
understanding what matters most to you leads to
finding hope which leads to
being at peace
This current reality is very fleeting. We have a lot more influence on our lives than we sometimes realize. So, what is there to lose by revisiting “The Hope Chest”? What if—by opening up and clearing out your “Hope Chest” until the only things in there speak your truth—you could change not only your reality but you could offer hope to others too?