As Varun and I sat in the flickering candlelight reading words of hope from Genesis last night, I thought how candles are beacons of hope. Bright and yet fragile, a candle can give light to a dark corner or be snuffed by a strong gust. At times, our hope too is frail, weakened by long days and longer nights, or extinguished by no news or bad news.
Advent is a time for hope. Hope, that 2,000 years ago took human form and gifted us love and reconciliation. Hope that whispers to us through the ages.
Throughout the adoption journey, I have sometimes struggled to maintain hope. There are moments when I feel I’ve stepped out of the company of “everyone else” to join the onlookers, those whose desires for school or spouse or child or job or health leave them feeling behind and stranded. These are the ranks of the broken, the wanting, the waiting.
But the reality is, this company on the sidelines isn’t the stragglers; this is “everyone else”. In fact, we all seem to be looking at someone else and thinking “everyone else”…except me. In this jostling journey of life, we get to gently come alongside one another to offer a smile to encourage a heavy heart, a hand to help carry a burden or an arm for a weary body to lean on.
One such reminder of hope came to me in an ordinary-looking grocery bag given to me by a dear friend at my grad school convocation. As I returned home and carefully examined the contents, hope was rekindled in my heart.
Inside the bag was a beautifully made blanket and a card. The card lovingly explained that the blanket was made to represent the colours of the Indian, American and Canadian flags. This soft, cozy blanket is to be a small reminder of the love that brought our family together across continents and oceans.
The card went on to explain that the centre of the blanket has a circle, which represents the spoked wheel at the centre of the Indian flag. As I ran my fingers across the brightly coloured squares, I imagined snuggling our little one in this lovingly made blanket. In spite of my carefully crafted walls of Reasons and Timelines, I dreamed for a moment of our child being home.
There it is again: hope.
Thus far, we don’t have much of a collection of things for our child. One hand-carved toy my Mom purchased on vacation, a few classic children’s books I’ve found in thrift stores. But for the most part, I’ve held myself back.
Whenever I visit India, I admire beaded strands of brightly coloured elephants and birds and envision hanging them in my child’s room. Each time, I’ve told myself, Next time. It’s not reasonable or close yet...On this trip, I borrowed hope from the prayers and smiles of others. Proudly and expectantly, I wrapped the elephants in a shirt and tucked them in a corner of my suitcase.
Wouldn’t you know, their vibrant blues, oranges and greens match perfectly with the blanket?
Someday, we’ll wrap our little one in this family blanket and sing them to sleep in a saffron-coloured room. But today, we wait. And hope. Expectantly. We light candles and remind one another that there is hope in the little things because of the Hope that was fulfilled on the first Christmas.