It was a greatly-anticipated Saturday of early summer. I don’t normally like summer, mainly because I dislike the heat and the sun, especially with my pallor. The sun shines but it also burns. But I decided to make nice and give summer another chance.
I began my day by walking my brand-new Sperry’s on their maiden voyage to the Farmer’s Market. I was still on President Nelson’s challenge to avoid social media for a week and I was also opting out of Netflix so that meant listening to LOTS of music. So as I walked I explored Broadway’s Frozen soundtrack. Oh Caissie Levy, your voice is both glass and the force that shatters it.
I couldn’t help but appreciate the conspicuous loveliness around me. My neighborhood has a sort of relentless perfection: every lawn is trimmed, every potted plant in full bloom. I never know if I should savor the ideal or distrust it. I wonder if that would be my first reaction to heaven: suspicion.
Still though, the beauty was certainly inviting. A modest wind flowed through the trees, with the light bouncing from leaf to leaf. The sky was empty, and positively blue. I ambled past the homes, persistent construction, the polished lake, and arrived at the market. I was surrounded by colors and smells and young eager families. There was something about the combination of supple produce and the life of local entrepreneurship that I found extraordinarily satisfying. Nature and its products make me feel peaceful and seeing local members of the community sell their goods made me feel a vicarious excitement for them. After absorbing it all I left, lavender bushel in hand, and happily trotted back home.
The day wore on in the heat so I visited the local pool. As I sank in, the water was crisp and glassy, a fresh covering to my sticky skin. There’s something about swimming that makes me feel child-like again—like I’m imitating a mermaid. I was only submerged a few minutes, enough to get cold. As I climbed out, I felt delightfully frigid. I love moments when I can feel truly cold in the hottest season.
At this time, I was in yet another stage of uncertainty. My career future felt murky and I was still navigating my seemingly perpetual singleness. I’m used to not knowing my future even months ahead, but it still costs a degree of mental endurance. This summer day was an opportunity to live in the moment and bring the “eternal now” to the foreground of my mind.
I’ve spent years with a hope that was either reluctant or nearly absent, unsure that God and I had the same goals for what my life would look like. Repeated disappointment leaves a degree of trauma and choosing to hope again can feel like going back to an abusive relationship. And yet, I had spent a weekend encompassed by the sights and sounds of God’s love in the little ways he knew I would understand.
The next day I went to church and sat in our women’s meeting as we were taught how to receive answers to prayer. I brought my new and old notebooks, full of recorded thoughts, promises, and blessings between God and me. As I listened to the lesson I also reviewed the assurances I had recorded of some of my most memorable moments with God. I realized with striking poignancy that God has already promised me what I hoped to know, I just didn’t have the heart to believe Him. Or I believed that I would get the hand-me-down version of my dreams. And for the first time in what seemed like ages, I allowed myself to hope.
Believing that my future is bright allows me to wake up and enjoy the present. I can thus accept my current reality with gratitude knowing that God’s goal of my happiness applies to both my present and future. I can trust the blessings around me and look forward to great things ahead. I’ve pondered this question for years:
How is it that I can radically accept my life as it is, and at the same time, hope that it gets better?
By believing that now and forevermore, he is on my side. Nothing and no one can hurt me more than he can love and ultimately bless me.
The same is true for you.