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I lost a day yesterday. Things had been on a downward trajectory for me for a little while and yesterday my energy ran out. I don’t mean that I was tired, I’ve suffered insomnia and spent many days in a stupor of exhaustion, but this was different. I felt like a used up battery, I no longer carried enough of a charge to function in any meaningful way.

I wondered if I ever would again.

I think it’s probably true of any illness (mental or physical) that setbacks feel devastating. The road back to functioning as I once did is at least as long as a marathon, whereas the slippery slope back to being bed ridden most days feels like it’s always just behind me.

The rope that I hang on to, that keeps me inching along that marathon, and stops me from sliding back down that slippery slope, is hope.

But, what is hope?

In Atlas of the Heart, Brene Brown writes, “We need hope like we need air. To live without hope is to risk suffocating on hopelessness and despair, risk being crushed by the belief that there is no way out of what is holding us back, no way to get to what we desperately need.”

She goes on to say that hope isn’t an emotion but more a way of thinking. 

It makes sense to me that hope is more lasting than an emotion (which generally has a lifespan of 90 seconds when not fueled by thoughts and mental stories.) Hope is a lifesaving tool learned through hardship. It’s a window into what could be possible, the hiding place of all of the most precious and worthwhile things.

It’s not wishing on a star.

The things that inspire hope are challenging, but attainable. Hope isn’t for the fainthearted, it has to be met wholeheartedly.

It has taken me the last couple of years to really learn what hope means for me. It took me getting to the very edge of hopelessness and despair to understand that the only road that truly led to hope had to pass through acceptance. My acceptance of myself.

I had to accept that I have worth even if I’m not working.

I have worth even if I can’t get up with the kids and make breakfast.

I have worth even if I can’t go for hikes in the woods, go to choir, go to Activate, play soccer with my family…

I had to accept that I have worth just as me.

Accepting this meant that I was no longer alone on my journey. My acceptance opened me up to the love and acceptance of others. It meant that the vacuum of anxiety that had taken over my insides with the chant of ‘I am not enough’ became more and more still.

I can’t do the things I used to do, but I am still me.

I am me, armed with hope. 

Hope lets me see that I have people loving and supporting me. That I can keep moving forward one little step at the time, learning new and different ways of doing things. 

Barbara Kingsolver said, “The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.”

Get cozy under the roof of hope. It’s where you can rest and build resilience to face the hard days, armed with the knowledge that you, just as you are, are enough.

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2 comentários

Linda Rodgers
Linda Rodgers
15 de fev.

Rest in the safety of that roof; come out from under when you are able and luxuriate in those moments until it's time to seek shelter again. Sending hugs, dear Kyla.

Respondendo a

Thanks Linda. It was so good to see you the other day, you were the loveliest flower in the whole leaf :)

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