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What underwear and HOPE have in common. . .

Well guess what. This is a good one.

Don’t you hate it when you go to Walmart to buy new undies (because the current ones are . . . well. You know. Needy!) and you find the perfect size, shape, and color.. Only problem is, they come in a multi-pack with 5 other pairs that are everything from white with bright orange flowers, Big FAT stripes, to baby zebras flying over rainbows, to glow in the dark kissy lips.

Why can’t you just get that ONE pair you want? I mean, these designs are GOING TO SHOW! What were the designers thinking??!

I mean, I guess you could rip 6 packages apart and rearrange a perfect package for yourself, but . . . well, there are repercussions for that.

Ok. Well. HOPE is like that. Hope comes as part of a multipack. Hope comes as part of an assortment. It’s never JUST hope that we get.

Did you know that hope is ONLY necessary when things are invisible, or impossible, painful, or difficult.


But it also helps me to realize that I’m NORMAL.. Maybe I’m not as messed up as I thought I was.

I don’t know who or why or how, but I live my life thinking that if I’m doing things well, then I should ONLY experience success, happiness, joy, and serenity. It’s REALLY messed me up for living life, because as I see it now, life comes with EVERYTHING. Ups. Downs. Fear. Anger. Pain. Delight. Sadness. Excitement.

I had a REALLY REALLY REALLY emotional day the other day. I was processing and FEELING so many different things. Usually I get a bit grumpy about having all the feelings and eat something chocolatey or watch something distracting or - let’s be honest - blow up repeatedly at my family. I get in a really bad cycle of thinking stupid thoughts (I’m the only one . . . why did I screw up my life so badly . . . it’s never going to get better . . . it’s all going to fall apart . . . ) and I find myself at the bottom of a hole with no friends, no possibilities, and a lot of pain.

BUT instead of running away from my BIG feelings the other day, I sat on our back porch swing and I said, “I am having so many terrible feelings right now.” And I sat there and I closed my eyes and just let them be there. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. In fact, nothing really happened. A few minutes passed, some kid called my name and I had to go help rescue a cat or a gerbil or do somebody’s hair. It wasn’t profound - except for that I realized that this is one of the first times I really sat down and was ok with feeling terrible. And, well . . . it wasn’t SO terrible.

I think part of it is that I have been thinking so much about this Walmart underwear thing. It makes me laugh (cause it’s true!), but it also helps me understand something that’s really really really really important: We get it all. There’s no immunity for anyone. We would have no need for hope or optimism if nothing was ever difficult.

I read this AMAZING book last year. I think about it ALL the time when I fall down my own well of wishing life was different and if I’d only made different decisions and what if . . .

It’s called “The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig. Make sure it’s right for you before you read it, but {MILD SPOILER ALERT} this lady ends up being able to try on all sorts of different life choice possibilities. What if she had said “yes” to that really nice guy who was pursuing her, or what if she had taken that job, or gone on that trip . . . or whatever. She goes through all these different potential lives - and regardless of how wonderful or difficult she imagined that they might be, she realizes that SHE still has to work through issues in all of them and ALL of them come with hardship and sacrifice and pain.

It helps me with my “If only” voices. Those regrets and imagined potential outcomes. Life doesn’t give us 6 uniform pristine pairs of Walmart Underwear. Better pick the right pack or life will SUCK! NOoooooooooo! Life gives us the multipack. Life gives EVERYONE the multipack and you just gotta put those big girls (or big boys) on and roll with it. You won’t be equally pumped about every single pair, but they help make life complete.

Life has it all. Triumph. Failure. Insecurity. Fear. Friendship. Loss. Hope.

After all, who hopes for what they already have? For hope to be an integral part of your life, you need to be ok with experiencing delay and disappointment.

Celebrate those crazy undies. You never know what that “NON-blessing” you are currently enduring might bring, create, open up, change.

My boys’ autism kicks my butt. Parenthood humbles me. Marriage baffles me. Money reveals me. This isn’t the triumphal parade I expected my life to be. But if I can take life as it comes, no snooty disdain for difficulty (as if I should be above pain), I can actually have joy and satisfaction without perfection. It doesn’t ALL NEED TO BE GOOD.

Ok dear ones. Keep hoping.

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