Sarah writes from a nation in the Middle East, where she and her family work to provide services for the poor.
I noticed her earrings. She smiled.
Those are a gift, she explained. Sort of like an engagement, she added. She smiled so sweetly.
This woman is dear to me. She has been a part of my life for 6 years now. She looks for ways to help me, brings me small gifts for my birthday when I know she has no money to spare. She loves to remind me with a laugh, in the midst of noise and complaining, that children are a gift.
Recently she has had many difficult situations in her family. Medical emergencies require time, energy, influence, and money, all of which are in short supply. She wears herself out working.
And some days the difficulties facing her have far outweighed the hope.
But right now she isn’t focused on these. True, we had just talked about how much effort is going into scheduling her nephew’s surgery, which needs to happen as soon as possible, and how she has to go back and forth from doctor to government building to…to…to…
But at the mention of her earrings, she has changed completely.
“There is Hope”
She smiles as she says his name, the one who gave her these earrings.
She told me about how he has gone with her to the hospital to meet with doctors for her nephew’s surgery. About how he keeps reassuring her that he is still beside her and will wait until things settle a little.
She tells me they are gathering needed items for a home together. That she already has a small bed and small washing machine. That she still needs a small fridge and small stove. That they hope in a couple months they will be able to get married.
There is hope, she says.
And I just want to weep.
I don’t know if I want to weep from joy at seeing her happiness. Or maybe from sadness at how difficult her life has been.
At how much I want her to be safe and happy and yet how powerless I am to provide that.
Or how completely different our lives are and yet how hope affects us both in utterly the same way.
We can do anything when we have hope, I tell her in my simple Arabic.
She laughs and agrees.
And I can’t stop thinking about how much I want her to know true hope that cannot fade. Hope from the One who does not fail us.