Isaiah stands at the low wooden shelf of the changing table with his chubby
hand tugging on the handle of a basket that’s stuck. Unable to get to the
books trapped inside, he turns to me whining and fussing to communicate his
Seizing the teachable moment, I prompt, “Help, Isaiah. Say, ‘help.'”
“Ope,” he says, copying my dramatic drawn-out inflection to
perfection, but missing the ‘h’ and ‘l.’
“Ope,” he shouts, pulling on the basket for emphasis.
* * *
Levi stands at the gate that divides the living room from the rest of the
house. He’s fussing to get my attention, while also checking and rechecking the
lock on the latch. He wants to be set free, he wants the run of the house.
Walking over and looking down into his face I say, “Open, Levi. Say
‘Ope,” he says, rubbing a quick circle over his bulging belly, the
baby-sign-language gesture for please. ‘Ope,” he repeats for good measure,
relieved to have the verbal keys that unlock the door to his desire.
* * *
It’s the day after Easter and my husband and I have an appointment with the
bank set for the following day. We have
dreams for our lives, our family, our ministry, dreams this beautiful little
house doesn’t seem capable of holding.
So we’re starting to lean into the future, starting to speak of our
hopes and dreams and as we do, I can feel the desperate, hungry flocks of fear
gathering like vultures.
As people of the resurrection, we’re called to dream, to imagine and move into our dreams, but too often I find myself stuck when the dark clouds of fear
and disappointment roll in. How does one
find a place to stand between control and resignation, between taking a dream
upon your own small shoulders and abandoning it in the dirt?
* * *
Levi and Isaiah are waiting at the gate again and as I approach Levi flashes a look of inspiration.
“Ope,” he says and his brother chimes in too so that they form a small chorus,
a flock of sweetly singing birds. “Ope,
ope,” they chirp while rubbing their bellies in little circles of
through some blend of forced breath and mispronunciation, the word I hear is “hope”
and it’s then that my eyes and ears are opened to these two chubby-faced messengers
sent by God.
“Hope, hope,” Isaiah says as he tugs at the basket.
“Hope, hope,” Levi pleads as he stands at the locked gate.
“Please,” their small hands say as they circle their bellies again and
* * *
These two little birds are teaching me the language of God-sized dreams, teaching me to sing the songs of desire and how can I help but join the chorus?
Standing at the gate to the future that I
can’t unlock on my own, I sing the song of hope, adding in a gesture of “please” for good measure. I throw back the shadows of fear and doubt with this small word that escapes my lips like a breath of fresh air, a mighty wind that chases the gathering clouds away.
“Hope, hope,” I say as we move forward, leaning, listening to the Whisperer
of dreams, the Giver of gifts, the One who sent this beautiful flock of birds to
settle in my nest singing their lovely song of hope.