Meredith is one of my long-time best friends. She now proudly wears the badge “Auntie Meredith.”
Tinsley’s first literature lesson (with a splash of hope)
In 1861, Emily Dickinson wrote about hope:
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune—without the words,
And never stops at all
Now, please do not mistake my quoting Emily Dickinson for a love of her. I actually don’t love her at all. She was reclusive, preferring to live a solitary life writing her depressing poems only to really be discovered posthumously. But this poem continues to be so optimistic, so real and so…fresh. Hope really IS the thing with feathers, the thing that perches in the soul, the thing that sings the tune, even without words, the thing that never stops. Another great writer, Paul, wrote around A.D. 56 that love always hopes. Two different time periods, one writer a woman and one writer a man. Yet they both recognized the importance of hope.
You have been born into a great situation. You will not want for anything. Whatever you need, you will have. From the minute you took your first breath out of the womb, you were surrounded by love. You have a warm place to sleep, more clothes than even an infant can go through in a day, two parents, two sets of grandparents, an aunt and an uncle on each side, cousins and more friends than you’ll be able to count for quite awhile. You are barely even here and you already have more than most kids ever will. You already have the things a lot of kids hope for. You have so much going for you, and you’re brand new at this!
You will grow up knowing that you have a canopy of hope over you. As you grow and learn, you’ll discover things about life that we all desperately would prefer to shield you from completely. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to do that. We can’t protect you from every disappointment and heartache life is sure to bring. But we can make sure you know that hope is always available. No matter what comes your way, you can rely on your canopy of hope to get you to the next phase of life. I like to think of hope like a very full bank account that you forget about until you need it. And then, when you do need it, it’s there for you to tap into and draw from. It’s there to keep you afloat until your ship comes in again, until the rain stops, until the sun is once again warm upon your face. And hopefully, because you are so surrounded by love, you will not ever feel like your hope bank is empty.
Oh sure, I have other hopes for you. I hope you develop a love for literature and will let me teach you some of my favorites like Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolfe, Chaucer and F. Scott Fitzgerald (wow. talk about some people who were hopeless. Sheesh. Clearly, I will share with you about Goodnight Moon, Miss Rumphius, Blueberrys for Sal and George and Matilda Mouse first). I hope you love to eat because it will be more fun for me to hang out with you if we can share snacks. I love those little lucky charm dissolvy baby snacks. I hope your parents will let me take you swimming before your first summer is over. I hope you genuinely love dresses, hair bows and saddle oxfords. I hope you and your mom can have the relationship my mom and I have. I hope you adore your dad like I adore mine. I hope you love being held and being treasured. And I hope you really understand just how special you are (ahh! another book I will share with you). I hope you get to experience everything we’ve all experienced, and then some. I hope you love to travel, love to learn and love to explore. I hope you get to figure out just who you are. I hope you aren’t afraid to cry and aren’t afraid to pack a punch. I hope you know that you really can do and be whatever you set your heart on, whatever you love.
So why is hope the thing with feathers? Why does it perch on our soul and continue to sing even when it doesn’t have words (ah! another good book but much too mature for you. maybe when you’re 53 when you get home from your first date and I am there with your mom and dad waiting up on you). Whenever I read this, I think of a baby bird. Year in and year out, every spring is marked with the chirping of birds. I love watching the man and woman bird gather materials for their nest, and check out various digs before settling on a home. I remember the excitement I felt growing up whenever we discovered robins’ eggs and how careful we were not to touch them, not to disturb these new little lives. I remember the joy I felt when I spotted a cardinal man and woman feeding off my bird feeder in my new house recently. Something about a bird flying around and doing its thing conjures up hope. Something about finding a feather makes you feel lucky, makes you feel hopeful. Even if life deals you a bad hand from time to time, even when you feel like you don’t have anything else to hope for, hope is the thing that keeps our hearts singing even when we’re at a loss for words.
Hope is the thing that never stops at all. Hope is love and love is hope. And love never fails. Love never stops at all.
Welcome to the world, baby girl! (oh Fannie Flagg. I cannot wait until you are old enough to read her works!). You were hoped for, and now, finally, here you are.
your aunt meredith
*reblogged from Project Baby.