I have a small living room with a bay window and window seat. Because of this design, there are not many options in furniture placement. After various arrangements (apparently every 6 months, according to my husband’s calculations), I currently have placed the couch on the opposite wall facing the bay window. This is where I sit every morning drinking my tea and reading, or “computering” for a while as I look outside. We have a paved circle driveway with an island of grass and a couple trees in the middle of the driveway, and much more yard with a line of trees as its boundary beyond the driveway on our rented 11 1/2 acres out here in the country.
Even though I think spring has officially begun, it still looks quite wintery outside with dead trees empty of their leaves, and grass that only has patches of green here and there. It’s a cloudy day, so there is no bright sun breaking through the bleak landscape. It’s kind of a sad sight, depressing even.
But there! Look! Our friend has returned – a beautiful bluejay bird who flits about and perches on a brittle limb of one of the small trees in the yard in the middle of the driveway. In my line of view, it is just to the left in my bay window. I think to myself he must be lonely because I never see him with any other feathered friends. Yet here he is, seemingly joyful to have the tree all to himself. It is a welcome sight to see such beauty in the midst of ugly. Let’s be honest – who has framed pictures of dead nature proudly adorning their walls? No, we like to hang the pretty of nature – the colorful array of a mountain range at the height of the fall season, or bright sunny days in summer. Not many would opt for the dreary, cold, grey scene of winter – at least not without some pretty snowfall glistening in the cold day’s sun.
For quite some time now, I have been considering the word “hope”. The word intrigues me. The Biblical use of hope seems to be quite different from our modern usage. It is used in so many encouraging phrases, even the title of this blog, “Post Tenebras Lux: Hope in Autism”. We think of the word as something that we very much want to happen, but have no certainties about whether or not what we hope for comes true. When I end an e-mail to someone I want to hear back from, I say, “I hope to hear from you soon” or “I hope to see you again soon”. This hope implies that it may or may not happen. I would like for it to, but I have no guarantees I will hear from or see them soon.
This is not the Biblical use of this precious word. I intend to put much more thought and study into it, but my immediate thoughts are that the word in the Bible can mostly be used to mean “wait”. We “hope” in the return of Jesus – that is, we eagerly wait for it. It IS a certainty, a guarantee, and that is why we have “hope”. The Bible seems much more clear that whatever hope we have is actually a guarantee, not a potentially unfulfilled promise that we desire strongly.
And so I consider the bluejay once more. This small, seemingly insignificant creature grants me something of which I am in need daily: hope. His presence is the promise of spring that is coming. The trees will not always be so bare, and the grass will not always look so withered, nor the contrast of his bright blue feathers so stark against the greys and browns behind him. The leaves will return, the flowers will blossom, the grass will grow greener, and in time, more feathered friends will fill the branches. We are promised seasons in Scripture. Seasons in nature, seasons of life. Even though the sky is grey, and the trees seem lifeless, there really is life taking place beyond what we can see. There is sun beyond the clouds. There is life within the trees getting ready to break forth. There is hope. Not the kind of hope that is desired but unsure. The kind that is a certain promise of the coming newness spring will bring.
Living life in the midst of what sometimes feels like a never-ending winter, we are promised “spring”, the newness of life. The deadness of this life will be done away with, and our world will be recreated with the stamp of a Hope that never dies. It is not yet here, but it is coming. In fact, there are many recreations along the way that remind us of this very hope. Funny that a simple bluejay can bring about such thoughts. How thankful I am for his spray of color this morning. I hope to see him again tomorrow morning.