I have spent some time thinking about where to go next. I have just finished a 30 day gratitude challenge that can be viewed here. http://ravenwoodspirit.livejournal.com/ . It is in an old journal that I have decided not to use anymore. I wanted a fresh start and am now here. At the end of this challenge I wanted to keep going but in a different direction. To Write Love On Her Arms tells us that we all have a story to tell and that we all have a part and no one else can play your part. So what is my part? What is mine to do? I am going to keep writing. I think I have something to say and a story people may want or need to hear. I am going to start with the winter holidays, as I already have and then go from there and see what evolves.

According to some sources the first week of Advent is hope. We are nearing the end of that week and it has taken me that long to come up with what I needed to say. Hope is such a huge concept for me. One of the first things that mental illness take away from you is hope. It can’t do it’s job if you have hope. Mental illness’s whole power structure is built around you not having hope. When hope is gone, the silent voice in your head that tells you to do all the stupid things makes sense. Without hope that message is compelling. Without hope the bad decisions are easy to make, the bad ideas are logical, and the self loathing is comfortable, like a warm blanket.

Hope tells us something different. Hope gives us another story to tell. Hope isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. Hope tells me, “man that sucks, things are hard right now. Your moods are out of whack. Your anxiety is through the roof, but guess what. It doesn’t have to stay that way”. Hope tells me, hey it gets better. It always has and always will. Hope tells me that it isn’t OK right now, but right now isn’t my life. Right now isn’t today. Right now isn’t forever. Right now is just right now. It’s just a moment. Right now is just a blip in time. Right now might be the worst it has ever been but it doesn’t have to stay that way. It won’t stay that way.

Hope is the sunrise. Every morning starts with hope. Every sunrise says that you get a new start. This day is the only day that exists and whatever you just went through doesn’t have to come with you into today. Sure, sometimes the suck lasts longer than a moment. Sometimes the suck lasts longer than a day, a week or a month, but it doesn’t have to. It changes. Hope helps it change.

The reason why hope works is that everything it tells you is true. I have been to the bottom of the well before. I have been there often and for long times and short times, but it always works out. It always gets better. I have survived every episode, every mood swing, every bad thing that I have come up across. I will next time. IT ALWAYS GETS BETTER. It’s not always the better you are looking for. It’s not always the better you think you want. It just gets better.

When I hear other people talk about hope they talk about world peace and these other grand visions. For me hope is the quiet voice that says, that other voice is wrong. The other voice may be louder but hope is telling you the truth, quietly, gently, lovingly. Hope tells you the truth. This will pass. I have hope all the time. The sun always rises. We get a new chance every morning. There are two voices, which one will you listen to?

This holiday season may you have hope in your heart.


Rev J


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