I was in Michael’s craft store the other day shopping for art supplies. I was running late for my first day of a mixed media painting class and just ran in to pick up my paints, not really noticing what was around me. I just wanted to get in and out and not be late for my first day. The last time I was in Michael’s was one of the many trips I made leading up to the holidays. Some of my gifts were special things I made for family and friends so Michael’s and I were good buddies for quite a while.
As I stood in line to check out I looked around the store – you know, the way you do when you wait and want to distract yourself. What I noticed was a major change in the energy of the store. Gone were the red and green, the garland and tinsel, the Santas and snowmen. Instead, all around me was the hope of Spring. I saw cute little outdoorsy things; green and pink decorations, tulips and daffodils, little painted wooden fences and pretty watering cans, all sorts of sweet Spring décor. If I hadn’t been in such a hurry I would have browsed and probably spent a lot more money. At the front window was a display of floral centerpieces. They were so pretty and it was all I could do not to jump out of line and grab one. One of these was in a little box that said “Flower & Garden”. It was my favorite.
As I looked at these pretty Spring decorations I could feel my mood changing, my spirits lifting, and something stirring in my heart. The word that came to mind was “Hope”. It’s no accident that during our President’s farewell speech he reminded us of the idea of hope and the importance of keeping it alive. In a world that consistently presents us with one challenge after another it’s vital, at least for me, to keep hope alive by seeking out the people and events that affirm that wondrous things are also happening. People are being kind and compassionate. Doctors and nurses are healing people. Scientists are looking for answers and researchers are searching for cures to disease and ways to make our lives better. Lovers are finding each other; babies are being made and the miracle of birth is happening in every moment. Children are learning to embrace each other and dedicated teachers are opening their minds. These and so many other things are happening in the world and hope is indeed a living thing.
The dreary days of winter can and often do bring our energy down. But I feel so blessed that for those few moments I was reminded of the promise and hope of spring. I could almost smell those delightful fragrances, and feel the warm rays of springtime sunshine on my face. And it gave me pause to stop and affirm that all is well. I will stop and look around more often. Don’t want to miss an opportunity to find hope.
STRETCH: See where hopefulness resides inside you. Stop and look at your surroundings with the intention of finding something that affirms hope is alive in your life. Dig if you must. It’s there.