~from “‘Hope’ Is the Thing with Feathers” by Emily Dickinson
This morning, I stumbled across the dark basement to reach for the laundry room light. In the midst of my fumbling
around, I uncovered 3 plants I had bought 2 weeks ago. They are packaged at the roots so they won’t dry out, but they had not been nurtured since they arrived at my home. I looked at them with the guilt a busy mother sometimes feels about ignoring her children–how did my life get so hectic that I could not make time for one thing I love so much? Immediately, I watered them and took them over to the windows so they could have a bit of sunlight.
As I set them down, I examined them. I was worried they might be beyond repair, but then I noticed something. There, amidst some of the dead leaves on outside branches were small, fresh green leaves unfolding to be welcomed by the water and sunlight. My first thought, “YES! I have not killed them,” but then I realized something else–a feeling of hope had flooded my body and washed away any disappointment I had about forgetting them. Looking at those spring green leaves reminded me how small pieces of nature can often inspire a sense of belief when we least expect it. Hope doesn’t have to come in the form of a miracle to fill us with wonder and faith.
When I think about hope, I often return to the poem by Emily Dickinson that I learned in high school. When I read it, I am reminded of the little brown wren that often sits in the hedge by my driveway. In spite of snow, rain, or lack of seed,
he sits and sings to me every morning as I leave for work. I am grounded by his gentle reminder that sometimes the small gifts are the ones that perch within our soul and fill our spirit with renewal and peace.