Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Hope Perches on the Soul

(Tricia and Cory 1989)

When I first met Rob*, I thought he was something special. He was a football player, an honor student, and very handsome too. The best part was, he liked me. I was head-over-heals-excited. I thought I was in love.

“Dating” in my small town, consisted of being together at dances, at sporting events, and in cars hidden away on dark country roads. Our relationship became physical even before we had a chance to get to know each other’s heart. Then there were the attractions--mine to other guys and his to other girls--that caused all types of problems.

We dated from my sophomore year to my senior year—with more turbulence than a jet plane in a windstorm. When I found out I was pregnant, it was the final strain on the relationship. Our “romance,” as I knew it, was over.

My parents were upset, but they were committed to helping me stick it out. I’d already had an abortion the previous year--due to Rob’s insistence and my own fear--and I wasn’t going to make that mistake again. Though he wanted me to have a second abortion, I couldn’t do it. I already hated myself for the first one. I lived with the horror of the abortion decision every day and had nightmares about it every night.

You may remember that feeling of attending class, knowing--in secret--that you have a baby growing inside you. I felt hot and tense and unable to focus. Soon, the word got out and rumors spread. Glances were cast my way as I walked down the halls. Whispers behind my back. My friends acted awkward around me. Rob began dating someone else. I wanted to move away and never return. The next best thing was for me to drop out of regular school, which I did.

I was sick, tired, and getting bigger by the day. I enrolled in a school for “needy” teens, and I fit right in.

This all happened during my senior year, and while everyone was attending Homecoming and Prom, I was staying up late watching old movies and sleeping until noon. What had become of my life?

I clearly remember waking up one day and flipping on my favorite soap opera, The Young and the Restless. What an appropriate title to what I was feeling.

I rolled to my side, wrapped my arms around my expanding stomach and considered what a mess I’d made of my life. What happened to my dreams, plans, and goals for a good future?

Then I remembered . . . like a ray from a lighthouse breaking through a foggy coastline, I thought of the stories I’d heard as a child while attending Sunday school. Stories of God. God who loved me, not my performance. God who accepted me as I was, without my need to make myself look good.

So at that moment, I prayed. It wasn’t elegant, but it was from the heart. “Oh God, I’ve really screwed things up this time. If you can make things better, please try.”

And then that beam of light not only touched my memory, but also my heart. And in an unexplainable way, I felt different inside. Something birthed inside me. That something was hope.

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and sings the tunes without words and never stops at all,” said poet Emily Dickinson.
And at the moment, my soul sang.

I couldn’t count on people, but God proved I could count on Him. I was unmarried, pregnant, angry, and lonely. God was okay with that. I didn’t know where to go or what to do next. But the peace of God told me things would work out. I needed love, and He loved me. He wanted to prove I was someone special in His eyes—even when I felt far from special in my own.

Hope made its home in my heart that day. My life wasn’t suddenly “fixed.” I still didn’t know what to do with the mess I was in. I didn’t have all the answers. But hope told me it would be okay. It was a miracle, and I was full of wonder.


Anonymous said...

Your words are beautiful!

Samantha said...

You're amazing Tricia! A real inspiration!