“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
When Hope was 3 or 4 years old she wanted to know what in the world I did with myself when she wasn’t around.
Especially after she went to bed.
I told her I go flying at night for exercise.
“Really?” she asked wide-eyed.
“Yep. After you fall asleep, I grow a tail and feathers. My nose curves into a beak. And I flap my wings and soar through the air.”
“Where do you go when you fly???”
“Oh, I just fly around the neighborhood. With my other bird friends.”
“But who babysits us while you’re out flying?”
“Um, well… I hover over the house so I can keep an eye on you. I don’t go very far.”
It occurred to me at this point that I might be getting carried away with my little story. I felt a tad guilty because I didn’t expect her to just believe me so easily.
“How does it feel when you fly?”
“Um. Oh, it’s great.”
There was no turning back now. I burst into an exaggerated rendition of “The Wind Beneath My Wings” and whooshed through the living room.
Fly. Flyyyy. Flyyyyyy away. You let me fly so high.
“Mommy, will you turn me into a bird tonight so I can fly, too? Puleezzz?”
“Can you turn me into a hummingbird? A pink hummingbird!!??”
We researched and discovered there is a species of hummingbird whose feathers refract a gorgeous, vivid hot pink. Hope was delighted. She talked for hours about how she’d flap her wings so fast they’d hum like Rhema, how her pink head would glow in the dark.
As I tucked her into bed that night, I spoke softly and kissed her adorable face,
“I love you, my little pink hummingbird.”
She smiled sweetly, “I love you, my big black crow.”
Since she was a baby Hope has taught me, reminded me daily that love is joyful and if I can love like anyone, I want to love like Hope. Her “merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”
This was not an easy year for my Hope. She experienced deep, unexpected losses – that of her beloved grandpa and a dear friend. She tasted bitter disappointments repeatedly and had to adjust to changes. For the first time as her mother I could not shield her with my wings. I could not do or say something to make it ok.
A couple times I wondered if she would lose heart.
But no. She knows the true Source of Hope. This Hope does not disappoint. This Hope is not just a wish or fancy, but an abiding, unshakeable expectation. She has this Hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. And her forerunner, her Audience of One, is Jesus.
And so. Without much recognition, she persists with a quiet excellence at everything she does. She faithfully loves God and family and those around her with gentleness and kindness. We could not be prouder of who she is.
On her last day of 5th grade, we took a “Hope and Mommy Day” (a long tradition of ours), just the two of us. And for a sweet little while we were hummingbirds and crows, flying.
We love you bigger than the sky, dear Hope.