Hope Is The Light of A Smoke-Streaked Sun

Fire Glow

The world is burning yet the sun still shines. Smoke singes my nostrils, entangles itself in my unwashed hair. I drive the kids to school, an ominous glare in the sky. The traffic is as thick as the smoke. We are late. Then Sweet Child O’Mine comes on the radio and what else can we do but crank it up and belt it out?

This is life right now: we are all living and dying. We are singing and crying. We are hunkering down with buttered toast and cups of coffee and dancing wildly in the kitchen together to Rihanna. My heart crumbles because cancer courses through the bodies of people I love and my heart swells because the six year old learned to read. I am relieved when my teenager texts me from school to pick her up in the middle of the day because it’s all just too much and I am worried she will fall behind if she misses just one class. My 7th grader wades through the social morass of middle school then comes home and nails the riff to Crazy Train, a gorgeous grin on her beaming face.

None of this is okay. Not the president or the natural disasters. Not the destruction of our homes and cities or the senseless deaths from gun violence and prejudice. Not the daily injuries of growing up or the shifts of time that define growing old. It is overwhelming. It is sometimes unbearable. It is not how I imagined my life to be. Then again, the world right now is unimaginable.

I have not given up because even as I wallow in the very center of the hopelessness, I cannot escape hope. There are glimmers of beauty and new strains of love glowing through the darkness. My golden roses still make their way from bud to bloom. The dog wags her tail. My husband and I are in constant touch, by phone and text and talk. In the last three days, each one of my daughters has reached for my hand over and over again.

I wish I could say these acts of hope were enough to convince me that the world’s reckless spinning is a simple aberration that will soon be righted, but they are not. Denial is not what hope is made for. The time for pretending that “everything will be okay” is over. Everything might not be okay. The losses are staggering and still miracles abound in the most ordinary ways: kitchen dance parties, a rising sun, hands holding hands.

It’s never been easy for me to bear the full weight of my own heartache. Here I am though, unable to escape it. I’m not sure if I’m just too worn out to do the hard work of fighting it or if I’m simply willing to feel it now. I do know that the only way to the light is through the chaos. The only way to see the extraordinary beauty of my ordinary life is to let the darkness in too. And I am oh so desperate for that light, even if it’s the smoke-streaked glow of a sun on fire.

You can help those affected by the fires in Sonoma and Napa counties as well as elsewhere in California by donating to the Red Cross or to any of these other organizations. 

 

80 thoughts on “Hope Is The Light of A Smoke-Streaked Sun

  1. What has become of our society. Where we are told that we “like” being used. Because of society we let it happen and we become the ones to blame. It’s never anyone else’s fault. Falling in love is so painful when the one you love just wants to use you to boost themselves. Hope is the only thing that helped me persevere

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  2. These words are so beautiful, you can tell they come from a soul full of life and darkness. Life burns and those words are deeply true.

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  3. Yes this is true. There’s a lot going in this world. Nothing is alright. But if we look around we surely find beauty and something that makes us smile. You’ve explained beautifully. I loved the article. 👍😊

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  4. I visited the Sonoma region back in May this year while staying with my daughter in San Fransisco. I was sad to hear of the devastating fires.
    Beautiful writing. Your raw honesty touched my heart. Thank you for sharing.

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  5. So true. It aroused my mourning instincts ….gloomy backdrop with a soothing side of HOPE…wish everyone could actually draw the fine strands of life changing lessons n views from it
    and put it to their lives.

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  6. Denial is not what hope is made for! Beautifully said ❤
    Hope is a good thing to have, even a speck of it is enough to hang on. Things might get a little better at least if not we'll gather the strength to accept them as they are. The little dance party in the kitchen and holding hands will stay no matter what 🙂
    Much love.

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  7. It’s so good, God gave us the rainbow as a sign of hope. Without hope, everything would feel lost. Thes fires will finally be gone and you will notice that just a few years later it will be forgotten by a lot of people. Wish you strength!

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  8. You write beautifully! And I feel everything you wrote right in my heart. I luckily live in Canada but we hear of the violence and everything that is Donald Trump and we shudder! How you find beauty in the life that is america at this time is endearing!
    Keep up the great work
    Chill mom

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  9. As a Sonoma County Resident, I understand all of this completely. There is abhorrent devastation, and yet we live. There is darkness looming on the horizon, and yet we still posses a light that burns among us. We are all traumatized from this, and it’s okay. That’s something I keep trying to remember: all this destruction is not okay, as you say, but our reactions and feelings about it are very much okay. As my mother-in-law, a retired police chaplain says, “We are experiencing a normal reaction to an abnormal situation.” Hearing your voice through this piece, I just want to reach out and give you such tight hugs.

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    1. Oh Steph I am so very sorry for what you’re going through up there. I really appreciate your words and thoughts. “We still posses a light that burns among us.” Yes, we do. Sending strength and hugs right back to you xx

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