“A good sailor knows how to steer into the wind, to use the power to his advantage. You don’t become a real sailor until you sail in a storm. Then you test what you know, you see what you and the boat and the wind are made of.” – G.T. in Hope Was Here
There’s a whole lot of storm-weathering in this section, friends. Our Hope Girl has been through a lot of ups and downs in just 16 years of life, and yet, as we talked about the first week, she is not the angst-filled teenager found in the typical Young Adult novel. She loves fiercely, gives people a second chance, and is even opening up her heart to romance. Cue the happy violin music and chocolate, right? Of course Braverman and Hope had to get together! I just love that their first date was in the diner with pork chop sandwiches, 7-up and a candle-lit table. Sometimes dreams come true in the most ordinary of circumstances, not the rosy picture we might have painted but in beautiful colors all their own. I’m glad Hope could have this moment of happiness.
I think I need to get a red clown nose, how about you? I’m still processing the whole visit from Hope’s mother. Hope stood up to her and reminded her that she doesn’t go by Tulip any longer, which had to take so much courage. After trying to deal with the grief and anger and a boatload of other emotions brought on by this visit, Braverman pulls out the clown’s nose and somehow the discouragement turns to hope, not only for our beloved workers at Welcome Stairways, but the customers as well.
I tend to wallow in the disappointment rather than seek the thing that might turn it around and fill my heart with hope again. I’ve never been an optimist, and I can normally find something that could potentially go wrong to worry about. I need people like Braverman to take my eyes off of myself or my circumstances and get me to laugh. My teammates have been helpful in this department over the years. During some dark seasons, they have been there to push me out the door for frozen yogurt or gelato, or give permission for some coffee shop time or a takeaway salad rather than the Pinterest meal from scratch that I can’t quite summon the energy to prepare. It might not exactly be a clown’s nose, but my spirits are lifted by these little gifts. Do you have a “clown’s nose story” of turning discouragement to hope?
Speaking of romance (which I’m happy to keep doing), did anyone see G.T. and Addie coming? Dear Aunt Addie is fighting it but it seems the rest of the diner employees are cheering them on. I was probably more like Hope and surprised by this sweet turn of events, but I love Flo’s opinion on the matter: “They love food. All they do is work. They both have strong personalities and they’ve learned how to enjoy each other’s ways. Where have you been?”
I didn’t expect to read this book and keep seeing applications to overseas life, to transition and new seasons, to find courage in the main character of a young adult novel. But I’m finding all those things, finding my heart stirred by new friends that band together when things get rough. In Hope I see a contagious joy that sticks around when we fight for it, healing that comes from life-giving relationships and space for growth. That’s the beauty of reading, the reason I make room in my suitcases and my Amazon budget, because we can learn and be challenged and encouraged in the pages of a book.
What are you finding in Hope Was Here? Love it, hate it, something in between? Come share with us in the comments, and don’t forget the chocolate because this section deserves it.
We’ll finish up Hope Was Here next week!
July 31- Chapters 17-21