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Reading Between the Pines: The ripple effect of hope


By Stacie Chadwick

Sometimes, on a day that’s not so lucky, life can punch you right in the face. Hard. And change your trajectory forever. One minute you’re standing tall, smiling at the sun and soaking in its warm flood of love, and the next you’re flat on your back, face in the dirt in stunned silence, wondering what happened and why everything suddenly went dark.

If life’s dealt you a difficult blow, you know these moments are as real and raw as it gets. They burn with an indescribable intensity, and the pain lingers for a collection of minutes and days that are often too deep and long to count.

Many times, bad things happen not because we deserve them, but due in large part to timing. A change in plans. A slight move right when you should have gone left. A split-second decision as subtle as a shift in the wind and as consequential as a seismic tremor.

And you find yourself asking a question that’s almost always answered with silence – Why? Why me? Why now? Why not someone else? Why anyone?

Once you work through the initial shock of change, with the weary understanding that you can’t throw your gears in reverse and turn back time, what prevails, through minutes of clarity and moments of pain, is a tiny concept with enormous possibility. Hope.

Even if it can’t answer life’s clueless riddles, hope opens the door wide to the anticipation of better days ahead. It’s the antidote to fear and walks side-by-side with love. Hope feels good. It’s a tangible belief that you can hold onto. It has teeth. And it’s permeable. Malleable. Exponential. The more people who feel hope, the more it expands and grows. It floats and it flies, and when enough people grab hold, it soars.

I don’t believe bad things happen for a reason. They just happen. And when they do, hope can light a path through a winding tunnel that seems like it has no end. Hope doesn’t solve problems, but given time and space, it can provide enough oxygen for that little flicker of light to start a fire, igniting a flame that helps create change. Change for the better, not for the worse. At least, I hope so.

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