This week during a phone call with my brother Bob we swapped stories of the challenges in our lives. He is dealing with some family issues and I’m dealing with my husband’s recent hospitalization due to Covid (he is home and better now).
“Just when I think things are calming down, something else pops up,” Bob said. Retired after a 45-year career as a small business owner, he is now actively being grandpa to his three grandchildren.
“I hear that’s life,” I said. “I keep wanting it to smooth out but I don’t think it works that way.”
“Life is difficult,” he said, quoting the first line from M. Scott Peck’s book The Road Less Traveled, a book that both he and I read in the early 1990s. Huge fans of Peck’s work at the time, we even attended one of Peck’s lectures together where the evening ended with the entire audience singing “Que Sera Sera.” While I don’t recall the specifics of that lecture nearly 30 years ago, I do remember the feeling I had at the end of the night: hope.
That message of hope keeps popping up for me this week.
There was the email I received from former TI executive director Vicki Schmidt on Monday with a link to author Kathryn Spink’s article “Where is hope?.
There was the Facebook post from author Parker Palmer reminding me to “keep hope alive” as he shared Mary Oliver’s poem “Mindful.”
And, there was the phone call with my brother.
As we wrapped up our conversation, Bob asked, “Do you have time for one more story?” This one involved his two-year-old granddaughter.
Earlier in the week, his granddaughter came running out of their bedroom with a pair of her grandmother’s underwear in hand which she proceeded to fling across the room. The underwear landed on her dad’s head, dangling from his ear. Bob’s description of the scene had both of us breathless with laughter.
There was hope in that laughter even amid the difficulties and challenges. It reminded me of Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.”
My hope for each of you this week is that you, in the words of Mary Oliver, “see or hear something that more or less kills [you] with delight” – even if it involves laughter about grandma’s undergarments.
Love and blessings,
Tammy Townsend Denny
P.S. Shhhh…. Don’t tell my brother that I told you the underwear story.