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Experimenting with Hope

experiment

Some authors embark on year-long experiments like A.J. Jacobs’ “The Year of Living Biblically” where he took on the task of literally living some of the Bible’s tenets like those that concern the clothing one wears or how to handle adulterers, among others.  In another experiment he spent some time outsourcing his life – including arguing with his wife and reading bedtime stories to his son with some help from some folks in Bangalore.  He is funny and interesting as is evidenced by his quote, “I am Jewish in the same way The Olive Garden is Italian.”

Then there’s Julie Powell’s “Julie and Julia,” an experiment in which the author decided  during a rough patch in her life to cook her way through Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”.  Good food, who can’t get behind that idea?!

There’s one of my personal favorites is “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. The author realized one day that she was living a pretty blessed life, and yet, she was feeling as though she was not appreciative or grateful enough for those blessings.  So she decided to embark on a year-long experiment to become more appreciative and grateful by way of her favorite device – the habit.  This was the first in a series of books (and a terrific podcast) that she has under her belt.

So many of her approaches resonated for me – her love of words and tags and categorizing – making the steps to embrace these things measurable and achievable, not to mention if one didn’t work she was very open about it.

This brings us to how I started blogging more regularly again.  I had my own little epiphany.  Well, it wasn’t just one moment.  To be honest, I’ve been wrestling with what my “project” is for quite some time now.  But, I’ve been drawn to hospice and writing and have been looking for a match.

On a walk one day with the dog my phone died – I hadn’t fully charged the battery before heading out.  Well, wouldn’t you know it, I had time to think, contemplate, create, perhaps hear divine inspiration whisper a word to me…HOPE.

Hope? I thought.

Yes, Hope.

Hmmm… I thought.

Well, actually, I had been known to think and even mention to a few folks that the word HOPE appears within the word HOsPicE.

Coincidence? I think not.

So, I figured maybe I would embark on a journey to figure out how Hope figures in others’ lives and how we can all cultivate a bit more of it.  Who couldn’t use more, right?!

How do you invite hope into your day?

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A Journey…

journey-jpeg

This idea has been percolating in my head for a bit now and I’ve even been outlining.  Can you imagine? A pantser like myself actually outlining and mind-mapping?  It was fun, in fact.  It’s always been about the process.  Surveys done in social science classes, experiments and research…now you’re talkin’!

So, here goes.  We, dear reader, you and I, are embarking on our very own journey starting right here, right now (insert earworm here, never mind…I did it for you).

It is my wish that together we will help one another find hope in daily moments.  There are so many opportunities to not be humble or optimistic or purposeful or energetic.  Then again, there are so many little, everyday moments to find in the most obscure, random, downright surprising spots that I have been inspired to share them with you and ask you to share, too.

Do you have an unusual experience or nugget or story that seems to defy all reason, but still inspires you (and others) to not lose faith? Please share it here.

One of the places that seems to have sparked this journey for me is hospice.

My dad was put on hospice following a surgery gone wrong.  It allowed him to go home and be with family when he passed.  Fast forward several years and my mother was also put on hospice, but in a facility as her dementia had progressed to a point where she needed more care than she could get at home.  However, she was put on not because of some horrendous diagnosis, but because of a factor called “negative caloric intake”.  In other words what she was able to eat wasn’t doing her any good nutritionally.  Therefore, the powers that be thought she was “not long for this world” at that rate of speed.  She fooled them.  She ramped up her eating again and did something I didn’t even know was possible. She “graduated” from hospice.  And, in fact, when she did finally pass away, she was not on hospice.

So, both of those instances involved examples of hope.  Dad’s allowed him to be at home with loved ones in an environment he’d helped to create taking some of the powerlessness out of it for him and preparing him for the next step in his journey.

Mother’s was educating me (at least) that this was something that could also be overcome and was not a done deal or a “given”.  God still had the reins here, not us.  Humbling, to say the least and hopeful that she would get stronger and healthier (which she did for a bit).

Since then, I have begun volunteering with hospice myself and it is amazingly rewarding and hope-filled.  The wonderful folks I have had the privilege to meet are veterans who have, in some capacity, served our nation in the armed forces and we are now getting a chance to thank them for their service and sacrifice.  There have been veterans who served in World War II and some much younger who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Some are at home and just look frail, not truly “sick”.  Some who are fully aware and others I have heard of who seem to not hear a thing.  The one thing throughout that resonates is that the word HOPE is within the word HOsPicE.  It came to me one day by Divine Intervention no doubt, but just stood out in vast relief and has stuck ever since.  And I feel so lucky to be able to volunteer with such a terrific organization. It has the element of the military which I have such a place in my heart for (being a military spouse will do that to you) and being the beneficiary of hospice (by way of both parents) that it seemed like a perfect fit.  Couple that with a terrific angel of a volunteer coordinator and you’ve got yourself a winner!

What sorts of experiences have you had that were wrapped in Hope when it seemed like that would be the last emotion to be present?

I hope you have enjoyed this session of our journey and I look forward to our next leg.

 

What’s your favorite fiction and/or mystery series?

…And why? Tell me what makes the plots interesting to you? What makes the characters likeable? Or not? What has disappointed you about a book? Series? Author?

Have you been reading an author or series and loving it when it gets to the 10th/15th/etc. book and you’ve begun to feel it’s disappointing? Why? Please share!

Looking forward to your wonderfully specific feedback!