Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Things You Lose, part 2

The Things You Lose

Today’s topic is Hope.

hope ?? (hp) KEY ?

hoped , hop?ing , hopes

To wish for something with expectation of its fulfillment.
Archaic To have confidence; trust.

To look forward to with confidence or expectation: We hope that our children will be successful.
To expect and desire. See Synonyms at expect.

A wish or desire accompanied by confident expectation of its fulfillment.
Something that is hoped for or desired: Success is our hope.
One that is a source of or reason for hope: the team's only hope for victory.
often Hope Christianity The theological virtue defined as the desire and search for a future good, difficult but not impossible to attain with God's help.
Archaic Trust; confidence.

Most of these definitions are really good and really applicable. I like that first one, "to wish for something with the expectation of fulfillment". It ties so well with what follows; “To look forward to with confidence or expectations.” Isn’t that so true of what marriage gives? It brings us hope. “Two is better than one” the Bible says, “because if two lie down they can keep warm, but one cannot keep himself warm.”
It’s more than just keeping warm at night and the cushion of two incomes. It’s the hope that comes with knowing someone in this world has your back. It’s the confidence that comes with having one person in the world who wants to see your dreams all come true as much as you do and vice versa. It’s knowing that when the chips are down and all the world is lined up against you waiting for their turn at your pound of flesh, someone close by will go down with you if necessary. Hope says, “I couldn’t make this by myself but with you I can do anything". Hope is looking at each other on your fifth wedding anniversary and wondering what you will both be like on your fiftieth, and eagerly anticipating the journey. Before Holly and I divorced we were invited to the 50th anniversary of our dear friends Terry and Mary Chapman at our former church here in Nashville. We were seated at the table with them and I happened to start thinking about how many days a fiftieth anniverary is and I counted it up in my head. I turned to Terry and Mary and said, “Do you guys realize that you’ve been married 18250 days?” Terry chuckled and said he’d never thought of it in those terms. Mary had been rendered nearly mute by Parkinson’s and so her words were slower to come. I asked her how many of those 18250 days were lovey dovey and romance. She laughed out loud, which for Mary, by that point had become quite a feat and she said, slowly, “Maybe half!” which made Terry chuckle even more. He said “you know, you don’t get to your fiftieth anniversary by looking for the exit every time things get rough and you don’t feel like you are in love anymore” He said “you get there by hanging on to the hope that you will grow closer together a little more each day and you determine not to quit. The hope gets you through each day until one day you hit 5 years and then 10 and then 25 and then you have a day like today, a 50th anniversary”
Mary passed away just a few short years later, and Terry lives now with a different hope. It’s the hope of being united with his bride again one day soon and never parting.
When two people divorce, each of them gives up the hope they had invested in their marriage and in the other person. Some start over with someone else but many of those people will confess that the next time they are a bit cynical and they don’t put their hope in someone else for their fulfillment. There is a psychological value to that and people will tell you that is healthy. But it also very sterile and it doesn’t lend itself to a lifelong bond nearly as easy as letting yourself put some hope in another person to help you get where you are going.
Hope appears in other forms in marriage as well and it is stripped from there too. The ability to create warm, wonderful family memories and cherished traditions is something a lot of people put their hope in, in a marriage. Sadly that too is devastated when two people divorce. Children have to alternate between parents homes at holidays, mom and dad show up at school functions and don’t sit together, spontaneous events with your kids are nearly impossible. The hope for a traditional family life is tarnished. If you came from a setting where that life was missing and you hoped to create it in your own marriage and thereby heal some of your hurts, you’ve lost that hope too.
There is the hope that your soul mate will be there every time you walk through that door, in good times and bad. The hope that the dreams you dreamed together will, one by one, come true as years go by. The hope is that with each passing day, the hard times and difficulties decrease, and the bond between you grows greater and greater.
It’s what you see on the faces of the bride and groom as they walk down the aisle for the first time after exchanging their vows. The hope for a wonderful life together and the total expectation that the life they dream of will come to fruition. Divorce takes that hope. Once you get divorced, from that day forward the picture can never look the way you dreamed it would. You might get your nice life, big house, good job, healthy kids, financial security, but not with the person you first thought you would. You might grow old with someone but not who you first planned on growing old with. And even though you love this person as much or more as you ever loved the other, the other will still be a part of the picture but in a different way and in a different role. At least if you have children. And so even if you regain hope, it takes on a different form. It is changed.
It might very well even be a greater hope than before, but it is still different.
Antoher of the things you lose in a divorce...that primal, original, fresh-off-the-vine hopefulness about the future that you planned together, and the expectations of that hope coming true. You are now faced with the task of rebuilding your hope, either with someone new or on your own. And that can be a diffcult task.

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