Good writing, with a strong point and with life oozing out.

Hope, and Reality

November 9, 2009

I’ve been busy of late (for like, the last 4 months) with renovations to the house we purchased this summer.  Because we’ve got a great and affordable place to live already, we’re not in a huge hurry to move.  So we’re taking the opportunity to finish some big and messy projects (sanding and finishing the floors, reconfiguring a kitchen into a dining room, and creating a kitchen in another space) before we move our family in.  All projects which I’ve been enjoying immensely, even if I’m constantly frustrated at my limited time (and limited skills with electricity) and the resulting slow progress on the whole job.

But this waiting in expectation is an interesting place.  It’s fun and hopeful to look forward to such a big shift for our family:  we’ll easily triple our living space, and double the number of interior doors compared to our current place.  Plus we’ll have a bunch of comforts that we’ve been without for four years:  dishwasher, laundry, bedrooms, freezer, pantry, and full-sized refrigerator.  Plus a county park right behind our yard.  We’ve got a lot to look forward to.

At the same time, I’m aware of the way in which I can be too hopeful.  It seems that every time I head out to the laundromat, and every time I do the dishes, and every time I bend over to find something in the refrigerator, and every time I wend my way through our small apartment, I can’t help but imagine that my life will be utterly transformed when we move.  And surely, it will.  There will be efficiencies, and comforts, and pleasures.  But there will be a whole new set of stressors and duties and time-consumers, too.

So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the way in which our hope needs to be tempered by a bit of reality.  Too often– and especially in Christian theologies– hope is neglected, and this is a tragedy.  But it is too easy to let the pendulum swing to the other end, and allow hope to grow in some utopian space where no one actually lives.  So it seems to me that our challenge is to nurture a sense of hope and expectation of God’s better horizon while staying in touch with the realities of the world around  us.  To dwell in that liminal space between this world and the inexorable transformation of it.

(photo by The Wife, skylight by me)

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3 Responses to “Hope, and Reality”

  1. Danielle says:

    Isn't sort of fun, though, to trade one set of old annoying "stressors, duties, and time-consumers" for a new set of ones?
    And hey, "liminal" –nice word, yo.

  2. randy buist says:

    dang you're good Mike…

  3. randy buist says:

    our cohort is considering the idea of 'the slippery slope.' it seems that if we nurture this sense of hope and expectation for God's better horizon while also staying in touch with the realities of this world, we'll never find ourselves on a 'slippery slope.'

    your thoughts make the idea of a slippery slope fade; there is no slippery slope if we live in our current reality as long as we hold onto hope for the kingdom of God.

    [selah]

    this makes me wonder if we should point people towards the kingdom of God rather than towards Jesus. when we point people toward Jesus, it seems that somehow the message becomes one of sin and repentance. while this is good and important, the message seems to often get lost.

    me thinks that me needs to refocus on Jesus message of hope – of making all things new – while also living in our current reality.

    thanks brother & friend.

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