I could have lied.
When the woman sitting next to me in church (who I’d just met 50 minutes ago) asked if I had lunch plans, it would have been so, so easy to respond with a smile and “Yeah, sorry...I have to get back to camp. Thanks though!” and then out the door like normal.
Lies. My “plans” included picking up Qudoba and climbing back into bed with a burrito and One Tree Hill (Season 4, for the 11th time). That plan is so much easier than the hard, awkward work of meeting new people at a new church in a new town. A church I don’t know that I will for sure be attending in a town I don’t know that I’ll live in.
But for whatever reason I said no, I didn’t have plans. It was uncomfortable to answer that way, because I knew what would come next. It did, and when she asked if I like Mexican and wanted to join her family for lunch, I agreed. Fifteen minutes later I was sitting across the table from a precious three-year-old, making faces and eating far-too-large of a burrito. We shared stories of moving and life changing and God at work even when we couldn’t see it. (And of course we played some Dutch Bingo, too).
It was nothing major. It probably wasn’t a big deal to them. But it spoke volumes to me. For the first time in too long, I felt hope. The hope that comes with taking a risk, the hope that comes with knowing change is around the corner. The hope that says it’s been a rough season, but it won’t stay that way. The hope that says you haven’t lost yourself, you’re still in there somewhere, and here’s a reminder of who you are and why you’re here.
Sometimes it’s hard to have that hope when you live in a camping trailer and aren’t sure where you’ll be living in two months. It’s hard when you don’t know how you’ll pay for that unknown place in two months, because your job is about to be part-time. It’s hard when all your friends are together 1200 miles away and you miss them terribly and wonder if you will ever find a connection like that in your new town.
These last five months have been, without a doubt, the most challenging months of my life. They’ve been filled with unknown and emotions and more questions than answers. Yet God has been so good in showering me with little glimpses of hope - warm fuzzies, text messages, cinnamon rolls on my stoop (true story), conversations with students, sunsets, and burritos after church. Whatever situation you are in, I pray you find hope where you need it today. And if you’ve got enough hope to pass around, share it. You never know what one word, one invitation, one cup of coffee could mean to someone who just needs a little hope.