For the last few years, The R House has had a family theme to think about during the year.
(I totally stole this idea from my darling parents who’s most memorable family theme was/is “I Can Do Hard Things.”)
Our theme for 2011 was “Hold thy Peace” which to me meant “Hang in there and don’t freak out.” It was especially appropriate as Mr. R changed jobs, started a new company and C began emailing us, telling us she has chosen to place her baby with us. All major life changes that have brought us so much joy.
While doing some studying in the last few weeks, I came across this scripture:
Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life. ~2 Nephi 31:20
A perfect brightness of hope twinkled at me from the page.
Hope has been my favorite word since 2005 when we were having a hard time getting pregnant. Hope became the reason I could pull myself out of bed in the morning when we were diagnosed with infertility in 2006. Hope is what we clung to during the adoptions of our two oldest boys …and it is what we live by now as we embark on another adoption.
It’s a beautiful word.
A profound word.
A word of power.
Last Sunday I read a talk that is still lingering in my brain–A Perfect Brightness of Hope by Elaine L. Jack. It is so insightful. After I read it, I just knew that A Perfect Brightness of Hope would be our family theme for 2012.
Sister Jack defines hope as “happy feelings, anticipation of good things, the best of the gospel, and zest for life.” I love it. I love her positivity. You can practically feel it jumping off the page!
She identifies hope as the power that keeps us from despair, the force that helps us rebound, an anchor to the soul, what “ties us to safety,” the beacon that shines in the chaos of this life—”warm, steady, and inviting.”
There was a story that Sister Jack told about a woman whose brief marriage fell apart when she discovered the man she married had lied to her. As I read about this woman, I was comforted by the following paragraphs and touched by how closely they relate to dealing with infertility, the loss of a loved one, the loss of a dream, disappointment, failed adoptions, and other of life’s tragedies. I know you can relate to these powerful paragraphs.
She was devastated. She despaired. She wondered if her whole heart had been crushed irreparably, along with her girlhood dreams. The world was black, and everything went poorly for many months.
But a remarkable thing happened. She was still very much alive; she just didn’t know it for a time. During this period of intense difficulty, I watched the law of hope take its course. My friend desired righteousness even while she struggled with choices, questions, and personal pain. Her hopeful desire, often unexpressed during those many months, worked in her. In her fertile soul, dormant seeds of hope, which she had forgotten she’d planted, began to sprout. Then they began to grow. She felt them and, as she was able, nurtured those volunteer tendrils.
It wasn’t easy, but hope, faith, and charity are powerful. Once growing, they are not easily dissuaded if the soil is right. Those tendrils strengthened. Ever so gradually her anger, disappointment, pain, and even despair were replaced by fresh, fragrant plants of compassion, understanding, patience, faith, hope, and charity.
The LAW of hope? When I read that, it was like the clouds parted and the Hallelujah chorus sounded in my ears. It just made so much sense. Hope is the power to rebound. Hope is the power to plow through any of the darkness that shines on our path of life. Hope is the reason to rejoice. As Sister Jack says, “Hope matters; your hope matters. Hope—what it does to my soul when I feel it! Hope—what it does for the world when we act on it!” Amen.
Daily confirm your hope. Some of you may be troubled by the injustices of the world. You may wonder why so many undeserving people live in abundance while so many innocents suffer. Some of you are the innocents. You bear emotional scars because of the abuse of others. For some, perhaps the source of your concern is your perception of how the Church is run. Still others of you carry a personal problem that weighs on your soul even as you sleep. May I gently speak to your hearts—don’t defer hope even when you feel most hopeless. Confirm your hope every way you can.
These are the words we will live by in 2012. Every day we will strive to confirm our hope.
2012 theme: A Perfect Brightness of Hope