Sunday, January 10, 2010

bumps and bruises

Rowan took his first spill tonight where he got a good bump and bruise on his head, plus a good cut with some blood. No fun. He actually didn't freak out very much; I think Shey and I were probably more surprised and worried to see his response than he was himself. But we didn't make any loud or surprising gasps at the sight of blood, and he calmed down in less time than a temper tantrum.

I've spent a good part of the last few months thinking about hope, in both preparing to write and in writing the book on sacred hope for students. It forced me to take a look at some of the bumps and bruises of the last couple of years, and some of the deeper wounds that are still healing from years past. Rowan is going to have a bump for a couple of weeks probably, and will have a little mark for probably months. All from climbing up on his play kitchen, slipping, and then bumping his head on the corner of our buffet.

I am just finally able to start talking about in any meaningful way about some of the traumatic experiences of the last year and a half, and yet we already have some new challenges that have arisen while finishing the book. I keep looking for a pause button somewhere; a place or time where I can catch my breath, slow down, and recharge, but so far we haven't found that place yet.

I suppose it is like advent: the waiting, the anticipation, the longing. Anticipation is a difficult emotion and means of life. It necessitates a hope in the present while also implying a hope in the future. It is really hard to live in those tensions. Not to mention the bumps and bruises along the way. Sometimes the bumps and bruises are actually cuts much deeper though, and take much longer to heal than I want to admit. I know that I haven't wanted to admit the pain still exists and affects me. In some ways, I'm just learning how to speak again.

I hope this means that I will figure out how to be a better husband and dad, to find a rigorous hope that helps me to live into the present with greater awareness of the future. The bumps and bruises are always scary at first, but they heal quickly; it is learning how to gain feeling back into the places where there were deep wounds and gashes that take time, silence, and perseverance.


april said...

I'm interested to hear more thoughts on this, Josh. After my own struggles with trauma over the past few years, hope is one of the things about faith that pisses me off the most. I feel like I've found a different path in that regard, with it's own peace/joy/etc. However, I do sense that probably what you call "hope" is something that maybe I have simply renamed.

Josh said...

April, i've been thinking a lot about what you've said. i do think that what i call hope, and what you have called something else is most certainly similar. they are both one element of the means by which we have survived hardship, trauma, and even tragedy.

we probably name it give that feeling of hope/peace/joy/etc. largely based on the community we are a part of, and the issues that caused the problems in the first place.

i can totally see how hope is something that pisses you off, because for both Shey and i, it has been something that has made us angry and yet stubbornly survive, even when we felt like giving up.

i'll keep trying to unpack this a bit, and thanks for the discussion. you are such a great writer, and have a unique way of making your point on your blog, it has been good (and sometimes challenging to face old issues) for me, but something i am starting to be willing to do. thanks for sharing the road with me/us.