Today is one of those days where I need to hold tight to hope, to believe that life is fundamentally good, that it is not all about the hard and the heavy stuff.
This week has been a week of deep sadness, not my own personal sadness, but sadness for people I love which I guess means it becomes my sadness, of situations I wish with every fibre of my being I could change and make better but which I can’t and all I can do is stand by and watch, praying and loving.
In those early days after losing John I would desperately seek out stories of people who had been through similar situations and had come out the other side in one piece. If people told me they had a friend who had lost their spouse I would grill them about what that person’s life looked like now. I desperately needed to hear stories to fill my broken heart with hope that it would not always feel like it did, that I would not always feel so lost or so sad.
Sometimes I just could not have hope, it simply hurt too much and I couldn’t believe I would ever feel ok again, would ever laugh or know that lightness in my spirit again. In those times I knew those that those that loved me never gave up hope for me, that they never stopped believing in my future and in those times their words of hope kept pushing me forward and giving me life. They would tell me that they totally believed that there were better times ahead, that I would be loved again, that this wasn’t the end of the story. One day at church a friend came up to and told me that he and his wife had watched the film “Ps I love You”, a film about a man who knew he was going to die and left 12 letters for his wife, for each month following his death. In one of those letters he wrote to his wife saying that she had been the whole of his life but he was only a chapter of her life and there were many more chapters to come. My friend said that God had really spoken to him about me whilst he had been watching that film and that he felt like God wanted me to know there were so many good chapters of my life to come. Those words meant so much to me, words of hope and encouragement.
There are a lot of crappy things that go on in this world. I do not often pick up a newspaper or watch the news, much to the disgust of my brother, because in all honesty I just end up very heavy hearted when I do. That may sound like a very selfish and ignorant thing to say and obviously I do find out about important news events, but I think having had tragedy and loss in my life, and watching friends and family going through tragedy, and because the area of law I specialise in is what we affectionately refer to as “death and madness” I simply do not have room in my heart for any more sadness, heaviness and dispute. Having said that I am passionate about wanting to commit my future to using my experiences to help others, to see broken people restored and healed, as one of my best friends says not wasting the pain – to bringing hope from the pain for others, in whatever ways I can.
On Instagram I follow an Australian lady whose account is pictures of couples, mainly older couples, which are accompanied by a narrative of their love stories.
Couples who have shared their lives, weathered the storms, and come into their latter years still as in love and stronger together. I cannot get enough of these stories of hope and love – they lift my soul. Likewise I am sure many of you will have see the Humans of New York stuff on social media. The idea is that they go round taking photographs of all sorts of different people in and around New York and you get a glimpse into their story – now not all of them are happy and inspiring but many are, of people overcoming adversity, of bringing change and transformation, of love and hope. I love reading those stories.
Right now I am in a bit of a funny place in my life, for reasons I cannot really share in a public forum – nothing bad though, and in time I probably will write more about it but it has meant I have a little bit more time to write, process, and think than I normally would have. So in the midst of that time I have started to write and have been a little overwhelmed at the response but I do not want this blog/my writing to be simply a sad story I want it to be a story of hope, of encouragement – so hopefully people can read my story and my experiences and be encouraged that whatever we go through in life, the hard times, the battles, it is not the end of the story, it too will pass and you can come through it changed with a greater capacity to love, trust and hope.
One of the most famous verses is the bible is this one – “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1Corinthians 13 vs. 13). Whether we believe in God or not, whether we are young or old, rich or poor, whatever our lives look like I believe with all that I am that these three matter more than anything, FAITH, HOPE and LOVE – and if we build our lives with these 3 things at the centre we will not only survive anything this crazy adventure that is life throws at us but we will know such beauty and joy in the journey.
So with that in mind I would love to hear stories from you of hope, love, faith, – love stories, stories where people have overcome adversity, of families, of friendship, of miracles, of healing and transformation. I would love to hear them for selfish reasons because today I need to hear that good things happen, that life is full of love and goodness even when there is death, cancer, loss, pain, and that those things will not win but also to maybe share some of those stories on this blog, to lift us in hope, love and faith because I know that those things lead to life in all its fullness. So if you do have stories, maybe not your own, maybe people you know or strangers’ stories you have heard, do drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org – look forward to hearing from you x