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Hoping for a miracle . . .

"Hoping For a Miracle", Mixed Media Collage by Betsy Lewis

“Hoping For a Miracle”, Mixed Media Collage by Betsy Lewis

My defense mechanisms of choice have always been denial and fantasy. If an important situation or person is not to my liking, I can usually spin it or them into line with my fantasy version. I have avoided a lot of misery through the years this way! The collage above captures this pretty well. There, for all to see is my magical child-like self banking on a miracle! (I don’t plan these things.)

In my last blog installment I shared that I am teetering on the edge of a “fiscal cliff” of my own– seeing the pension that was funding my dreams suddenly and mysteriously evaporating before my eyes.

It is only at night now that I sink into bag lady fear. For the most part, I am practicing what I preach and living in the moment. And I still have hope that this has all been a  dreadful mistake, or that there is some way to negotiate a better outcome. I also know that law is its own sort of madness, with rules and precedents that aren’t always based on what I think is fair or just. But sometimes life surprises me.

Yesterday this beautiful poem by Marlene Mish arrived by email:


Hope teeters upon the wings

Of your broken heart,

Balancing loneliness and despair.

Hope sits in the hollow stillness

Next to the raw places within you

And lights a small candle.


Hope believes that next time

The story will come out different

And gives you courage to stand

And take a step.

Hope is all there is

When all there was is



Hope teeters upon the edges

Of your wary spirit

That has lost it way too many times

And grabs your collar before

The tears engulf you

And shouts, “You made it through !”

Hope is a distant voice whispering a lullaby

When all others

Scream, “Give up!”


Hope is the last word of God

You hear before you close your eyes,

The only proof that you are not alone.

“You are beautiful, my child.

Why have you forgotten again?”


Hope is the one gift that survived Eden,

The only language of love,

The last promise that won’t be broken,

And yet it teeters

On the edges of things

While you look for answers

Somewhere else.

Marlene Mish, August 24, 2003

Marlene shared a little bit about the inspiration for this poem:

Today is a good day.

Today I can see clearly that life is a series of ups and downs and that no matter how hopeless things can get, no matter how broken I may feel, I know that the sun will rise at dawn and I have a choice whether to greet it. But that wasn’t always so.

There have been times when I felt defeated by life, defeated by my own choices, defeated by the demons what swirl around in my soul, waiting to take root.

I wrote this poem in 2003 on such a day when sorrow had overtaken me, when defeat was all around me, when I had lost my way. I share it only because it is so hard to remember who we are on such days and I need to remind myself every once in a while that most isolation is self-imposed even though I have always sought out someone to blame.

I have made some progress on this journey, and so I can share a private part of it with others without losing.”

One reader expressed confidence that I would get through this pension thing with grace, and I think of that often. Now that is something to work toward . . . to  take on all of life with grace (after a kicking and screaming tantrum, of course.)

I am nothing if not resilient. And though I hate to admit it, I am already teasing out silver-linings.



6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Best wishes to you Alaya in these challenging times. Love Betsy

    January 10, 2013
  2. Sincerely hope you get a result from this pension thing that must feel like an albatross around your neck at times.
    Your talk of grace coincides with an audiobook I downloaded last week, after watching a ‘made for TV’ film called Amish Grace. The film I guess was conventional TV stuff, not for me to criticize, but the subject, the murder of 5 Amish children back in 2006 was so emotional and frankly fascinating, I wanted to know more.
    The book goes into great detail about their grace under pressure. Whatever people think of the Amish, and I guess some people do, to be able to forgive like that, and in many other cases too, and the results from that forgiveness, is quite remarkable. Truly graceful, and no, they are not automatons like Spock with no feelings, they hurt like everyone else and I have actually been trying to do the same in the smallest of ways each day during the course of my work. (I drive buses, inter-city, imagine the incidents!). Little acts of forgiveness when someone does something stupid, including myself of course.
    Makes you wonder whether we should be ‘teaching’, not sure about that word, this in schools, though perhaps many do, not only on a day to day basis when kids fight, but lessons that investigates this and gives understanding. It does not have to have religious or moral overtones even, it just seems like good therapy for everyone. Of course I guess we all have a right to defend ourselves first, if your Grandmother was being hit, you’d have a right to stop it by equivalent means and if wronged compensation in some form or other should be forthcoming, there has to be justice too, but I can’t help thinking that this Amish grace is on a higher plane of consciousness that would serve us all very well.

    Of course you truly hope that the parties concerned who have or are about to subjugate someone, whether emotionally, physically, spiritually or financially would stop and think first and not do it, but then after they have, they may look into their hearts, realize their mistakes and behave in a manner fitting of an enlightened creature and do the right thing by that person. That’s grace too.

    Perhaps whoever is making those decisions about your pension fund would do well to listen to ‘Amish Grace’ and follow their hearts and not the ‘almighty dollar’. A few ripples in a pond then becomes a few streams and next you’ve got yourself a river or a waterfall.

    January 10, 2013
    • Thanks Les – Much to think about here. I don’t think you can act with grace until you have let every part of you have a voice – especially the shadow parts. Grace has to be a balancing act, so all parts of you can co-exist and none shut out.

      January 10, 2013
  3. Thanks for the inspiring words, Betsy. I love that you are feeling your own resilience, teasing out the silver linings.
    This line from Mish’s poem is so beautiful, one to memorize and recite over and over again,
    “You are beautiful, my child,
    Why have you forgotten again?”

    January 10, 2013
    • There are so many good parts in this poem. Thank you for bringing those words to my attention Beckie. They really are the crux of the matter for me. I also love the image of hope as a “small candle” next to the “raw places” and hope as “the only language of love, the last promise that won’t be broken.” Poetry says it best and ennobles us.

      January 10, 2013
  4. This helped me, Betsy, in a very challenging time when seeing beyond can be difficult. Please extend my warmest thank you to Marlene, actually I might do so directly. Hoping with you ~ Alaya

    January 10, 2013

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