24 December 2009

because there is always hope

Hope and I have a tenuous relationship at best. By definition, it means believing in the good the future holds, in having expectation of good even when the present may come up short in the category of things we call good. And here is one I cannot escape: hope sometimes seems like a denial of the realities of the present.

Hope means believing there is light when all around you is dark, and when the darkness is so thick that you can't even see the hand in front of your face. Hope means believing that what will be is so full of good when what is is dismal and depressing. Hope means holding the tension between the reality of the present and the eager expectation of what awaits in the future. It means we do it even when it seems like we don't have a good reason.

But we do have a good reason. There is always hope.

Canon 40D
21 December 2009

On the winter solstice, we experience more minutes of darkness than on any other day of the year. But after that, the days get longer, degree by degree. After that, the door slowly creaks open and gives way to the light of spring. Barren branches bud with green new life. The sun shines on our faces more, and we are warmed.

No matter how cold and dark it gets, spring always comes. No matter how long the night is, the daylight always appears. And sometimes you are reminded even on the darkest, coldest day that something new awaits: life and wings and flight and light and hope.

Because there is always hope.

Blessings and peace to you this Christmas season.

Photo available for sale on RedBubble


  1. My turn to cry. I so needed this today. Someone outside of my reality to remind me of the things I cannot see. The hope that seems elusive when the dark is so pervasive.

    You are such a blessing, Kirsten.

  2. Hello, pretty girl.

    What a beautiful photograph. It really speaks to hope. I can feel the cold chill of the air and the loneliness of the moment, but I can also feel the light and the life of this lone bird sitting atop his little perch.

    What you're writing here about hope reminds me of a conversation I had with Kirk's aunt Diana last winter. We were on a really long tromp through the woods on a Catskills hiking trail. She was sharing with me that one Buddhist teaching she'd been trying to incorporate into her battle with cancer was living fully present -- which meant living without hope, because hope takes you out of the present into the future. While I can appreciate the desire to live fully present to each moment, I wasn't quite sure what I thought about giving up hope. That idea really took me by surprise, and I've still not fully grappled with it to a conclusion I can embrace. But it keeps me thinking.

  3. If you ever teach a photography class sign me up - that is a beautiful picture. I am reminded of the words a good friend told me not too long ago as we talked about our faith and daily living, burdens, etc...- "when everything you see tells you otherwise, believe the promises." And I do. Merry Christmas!

  4. Thank you for talking about hope. I am learning a lot about continuing to hope right now. I'm so thankful that Jesus brings hope even into the darkest of places. And he is who we celebrate!
    Merry Christmas to you! :)

  5. Oh, Karin. I'm glad this met you where you're at. I know that being asked to have hope with all you're going through must seem like an impossibly tall order. You and your family are so courageous and while I cannot walk this path with you, I can pray you along and wish you as much courage as I can. Blessings and peace to you.

    Dear Christianne, hope is the first thing that came to mind when this photograph came into being. A hummingbird in winter? Yes, that speaks hope.

    It's an interesting perspective that Diana offered about living free of hope to be fully in the present, in the here and now. Do you think that having hope somehow mitigates our ability to be fully present in the here and now?

    I think for me, knowing that "it's not always going to be this way" because we know what we anticipate and Who we anticipate is so much greater, it frees me to engage more fully in the present. What do you think?

    Travelmom, I love that saying about believing the promises. Sometimes that is the most difficult thing to do, but you and I both know that we can rely on them so fully. Thanks for the reminder!!

    Tea, I've read a bit into your journey and my heart aches for you and your family. Hope must be such a hard thing when your reality keeps pressing so hard against your desires. It's the bravest thing I know to keep hoping, to keep asking, to keep pleading with God to see what He would have for us, even when it's not the thing we except. Thanks for being brave and for being here!!

  6. Kirsten,
    Thank you so much for your kind and heartfelt words! :)

  7. Kirsten
    What a joy to come here. I feel honoured to "know" you , and blessed to be reading your thoughts and soaking in your photos.
    I wish continued hope for wherever your journey takes you in the new year.