Hope and Acorns

We spent the afternoon raking up leaves.  And leaves.  And leaves.

The more we raked the more I was sure we’d never be done.  There were endless leaves. Endless.

When I did manage to clear enough leaves to reveal green grass, I noticed something.  Acorns.  Brown and soft and hopeless looking.  Rotting as they tried to burry their way into the ground against the hardening of the winter’s cold.

Mushy brown pods with a root poking through, desperately trying to anchor into the ground.

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I don’t envy the acorn in the fall.  Finally their time has come to hit the earth and become something other and they’re hit with winter and what must seem like utter hopelessness.

The more I raked the more I thought about the sad ugliness of those acorns, all mush with roots.  Even if they sprouted we were just going to mow them over.  I wanted to gather them all and find them pots, space to realize their potential.

But I can’t save all the acorns.

I’ve always been this sort of person, I’ve always personified everything.  When I was a kid I saw stuffed animals at a garage sale, tossed in dirty cardboard boxes and felt compelled to give them all homes.

They were created to bring love and joy… not for this.

Somewhere deep inside me there is a powerful longing to see hope play out.

I don’t always know what I’m about, but I know I’m about hope.

I’ve heard it said that it floats
Emily Dickinson called it “the thing with feathers”
Guided by Voices said “It’s the last thing that’s holding me”

Whatever you use to portray it, we need it to survive.  Life will freeze us, the landscape of our own lives will feel, at times, quite cold.

Sometimes the realization of our hopes will feel seasons away and hope will be impossible to see, but I’ve found that when you can’t see hope, you can feel it dancing on the periphery.

You can breathe in the belief that something redemptive, something new and whole is on the way.

That’s hope. It’s that knowledge that through the winter, through the blast, through the slow pain… that something else is on the way.


I believe in hope.  I love to think about it, I wish I could find a way to package it up and give it away to everyone in need.  “Don’t lose this, whatever else you do, just don’t lose this.”

This fall I’ve spent time making felted acorns and the other day I gave a small satchel of them to a friend who I knew needed reminders of hope on the horizon.

I wish I had the hands and time to give them away with reckless abandon.

To the lady who rings up my groceries, her face deep in frown lines.
To my friend who is struggling with mental illness, sure she will never feel happy again.
To the grieving ones, sure they will never heal.

Here, pretty little acorns for all of you!  Even if you don’t get the metaphor at least you’ll feel loved, seen, cared for.

There are a lot of things about my journey on which I am unclear.  But I know I’m about hope.  I know I’m crazy about finding it, sharing it always, always begging for more of it for those sorely lacking.

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