Waiting for Hope in the Hardship: Beauty is there with you

Wildfire season started early this year. Usually we can count on camping through June, July, and the first week or two of August before the smoke clogs the skies and sinks the air quality. But in late June, the smelly, amber haze had rolled in for the summer.

Suddenly, my plans for outdoor adventures and mountain retreats were spoiled.

It’s not a good idea to camp in the forests right now, and due to my health issues, it’s not safe for me to be out in the smoke. So on the heels of feeling released from quaratine after my Covid vaccine, I’m back home. 

Now, my husband and I watch the official reports of air quality ratings as they flucuate between yellow, orange, and red then try to make plans accordingly. 

Last weekend we wanted to take a drive on an old logging road, one we hadn’t yet explored. We made tentative plans for Sunday, hoping the air would be clear enough. But when we checked the air quality that morning, it was well into the Orange Level, unhealthy for sensitive groups. I lamented, “Ugg! Another summer weekend spent indoors!”

My husband and I were both disappointed, but we had a backup plan to play a board game. Those of you who know us know that our board games are long-lasting and strategic, requiring lots of attention and giving the reward of hours of entertainment. By the end of the evening, we’d finished a game we’d never played before, called on our critical thinking and problem solving, and laughed as we foiled each other’s strategies to gain points. The cherry on top? I won the game!

Yes, we were stuck inside, but for a few hours we found joy and beauty at the kitchen table.

As the reality of my hardship settled in again the next day, I focused on that laughter. I closed my eyes and pictured the pink roses that I’d spotted growing outside my window during one of our breaks in the game. I held tight to the Divine Beauty extending its arms to support and lift me while I waited for Hope to return.

The next evening, I caught a glimpse of that hope. A rainstorm came through the valley, washing everything in its wake, including the fire smoke.

For a brief moment, I stepped outside and took deep breaths of fresh air. 

          Inhale Beauty. Exhale Hope.

          Inhale Beauty. Exhale Hope.

          Inhale Beauty. Exhale Hope.

The smoke rolled in after a couple of hours, but I had captured the beauty and hope of the moment in a picture and also as a memory. Now, I’m relying on it to get me through the long, challenging days ahead.

What kinds of Beauty do you see while you’re waiting?

What kinds of Hope sustain you during hardship?




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