Sermon for Hope

I’m so not with child.  So not knocked up.  So do not have a bun in the oven.  Etc.

But I am pregnant.

The word pregnant has several meanings aside from the most commonly used.  Pregnant also means expectantfraughtweightycreative.

I am expectant in the sense that I expect to get pregnant even though I have not yet.

My days are fraught with expectation and desire.

My fraught expectations are weighty too.  I carry them like one might carry a baby.  They are sometimes hard to carry through a day, an hour, the three minutes required of the little pee stick.  I often think of what writer Pablo Neruda said at fellow poet, Cesar Vallejo’s funeral: For him, carrying a day was like carrying a mountain, and Vallejo, presumably, never endured the two week wait.

And I am creative.  I create all the time.  I create expectations for myself that are fraught with desire and weigh too much.  I create symptoms too.  I implant my creations into soft beds and will them to grow.

So, ironically, some days I’d like to be less pregnant, less filled to the brim with want.

The Dalai Lama tells us that having few desires is vital for contentment, but that we must desire in order to live.  Translation: be a little bit pregnant.

Romans 12:12 tells us to “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”  Translation: Be very pregnant, but be pregnant with hope.

I am not the only one among us who finds it difficult at times to remain pregnant–not with desire–but with hope when the world is so consistently unfair.  I am thinking in particular of Claudia Rankine here, this lyric from Don’t Let Me Be Lonely:

Too many of us fill ourselves up with expectation, desire, and blind optimism instead of hope.  Hope is hard.  Hope is hard because hope, born of the soul, is different from desire or blind optimism, hope as the great poet Czelaw Milosz wrote “is when you believe the earth is not a dream, but living flesh.”

May we all be pregnant, even those of us suffering from desire in the face of difficulty.

May we all be heavy, heavy with hope.

Amen.

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