How to Find Hope In The Hard
Have you ever walked into a room and have it take you back to another point in time? Sometimes I feel that when I sit in the stands watching my daughter sideline cheer at the Friday football games. I recall a moment like that for me thirty years ago. I can even recall the thoughts I had or the feelings I felt when I was on that dirt track cheering at sixteen. Or maybe a smell brought you back to a moment of relationship. The fragrant essence of that cologne reminded you of the moment you had your first heart break because that’s the same scent he wore.
This past weekend I walked into a room that took me back to 2004. The year I became a mom. The year I birthed my daughter with Down Syndrome. This room was filled with moms of all ages and babies of different stages. But the one common factor was that we all parent a child with Down Syndrome. There was a time this flash back would have been hard. But this weekend it was healing.
There was a moment on our last night together with these women that I laid on my back, flat to the ground. I gazed into the sky full of stars. One of the women instructed us to find a word. One word that came to our heart. One word that arose in our minds. My word was HOPE. As I stared into the midnight sky with the vast array of stars shining and sparkling and some even bursting, I felt hope.
My husband always says, “the higher hope rises the more beautiful your perspective.” Hope always rises. And when perspective shows up, the game changes. It can put a world of hurt on your fears, and then freedom flows. I couldn’t see it on day one of my daughter’s life. In fact that day I just had questions. A flood of them as vast as the stars in the sky. And as I sat on this night under this beauty I remembered my husband’s one question to the geneticist, “Doctor, what will we do when she is forty?” You could feel the fear of the future all around. But I’ll never forget the doctor’s response. She said, “Mr. Jones, don’t worry about forty. You’ll be a different man then.”
On day one, right or wrong I saw disability. In the moment of unexpected, I had no idea of the laughter my daughter would bring. I couldn’t feel the warmth her heart of empathy would cultivate. I didn’t understand the pride I’d carry because of all the possibility her tiny life possessed. I couldn’t see it on day one. But our doctor, an expert in this field, knew something we didn’t. She had seen tomorrow. She had hope.
For me to gain the perspective of the doctor, I couldn’t quit. I had to pick up my precious baby and walk out that hospital threshold into the real world. And with one foot in front of the other, one step at a time—and sometimes just baby steps, hope began to rise and POSSIBILITY became my perspective. My daughter is eighteen now. And it didn’t take forty years for me to see it this way. I can only imagine how good it will get then. But I didn’t do this all alone. God was with me. He always is. On my hardest days He handled my holler. And my best days He made even better. He is HOPE. And whatever you find yourself holding today—remember that. Hang on, keep going, hope will rise. And the higher the hope, the more beautiful the perspective.