Sometimes hope can be so worn out from the effort of hoping that it begins to slowly fade away. Like one orchid I nearly left for dead this spring. It seemed completely spent after a wild winter display of ivory blossoms. The leaves turned from a turgid grass green to a shriveled pea green. I noticed it right about the time I was ready to commit mutiny on my life abroad. Hope was on the decline.
But hope can revive. It’s hard to say what breathes new life into hope – it can be so subtle, so gradual. I’m pretty sure some of my own hope tonic came in the form of a vivacious Puerto Rican from New York. Her eyes light up and her freckled cheeks dimple deeply when she smiles. She has lived in Norway for 24 years. At one of our meet-ups this past spring I remember pointing out the shriveled orchid and saying mournfully that I would probably have to throw it away.
She peered silently at the plant for a moment.
“No,” She assured me confidently, “I think it’s fine. Just water it. These plants will surprise you, they can survive almost anything.”
Hope can survive almost anything too. I watered that orchid faithfully. It sat in anemic silence as the spring sunshine turned into long hours of summer sunshine. At the same time I became intentional about creating a life that nourished my own soul. I read authors like Herb Montgomery, Doc Childre, Mitch Albom, Ann Voskamp and Brené Brown. The months slowly passed.
Then one day, I noticed the leaves had suddenly thickened and turned a bright green. I grinned foolishly at the plant. And I was startled to realize that I felt different too; I had come alive to the wonder around me. I was breathing deeply. I was content with my life abroad. Hope had come to life.