Bolstering Hope

“On a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is the best you’ve ever felt, how are you today?” I tried to make a quick assessment before I heard myself blurt out, “These days I fluctuate between 2-4. I won’t say 1 because I know things can always get worse.”

By the time I’d returned home from my first appointment with the holistic nutrition center, my phone was vibrating with notifications, everyone curious how it went, what I learned, and anxious for my initial thoughts overall.

“It’s a little weird,” I started responding. I don’t pretend to understand the science behind nutrition response testing. I’m not even sure I’d believe it if I hadn’t experienced it firsthand.

But regardless, the good news: I walked away with four jars of supplements and a bolster of hope. And that feels like the most help anyone’s been able to yield to this situation in a very long time.

Reflecting on the experience later, I started wondering about people who don’t have hope; those who feel stuck or lost in the dark. Having been there before myself, my heart broke.

My counselor and I have been doing a lot of work around getting unstuck in the cycle of the lies I tend to tell myself. Lately, the work has involved defining values and getting back to the basics of who exactly I think I am; reminding myself what’s true.

It took me much longer than it probably should’ve to tackle a worksheet with questions like:

  • I’m a person who _________
  • I’m a person who loves _________
  • I’m a person who wants _________
  • I’m a person who gets excited when _________
  • I’m a person who doesn’t like _________
  • I’m a person who is known for _________
  • I’m a person who almost never _________
  • …and about 15 other open-ended, fill-in-the-blank sentences similar to these.

I reasoned that it was because I’m so familiar with who I’ve been for 30+ years. I’m grieving the transition between shedding who I was and embracing who I’m growing to be. This new Amanda, well, I’m still getting to know her.

My husband is a stickler for starting the New Year fresh (& so clean clean). January 1 — right on schedule! — found us cleaning the house and taking down Christmas decorations. In between vacuuming symmetrical lines in the carpet, we chatted about the Venmo notification we received the night before. Some friends who were stuck at home sick felt compelled to send us a generous gift for a nice dinner date in the future. “I still can’t believe it!” Hubs said.

I thought about it for awhile and said, “I can, actually.” I reminded him of all the ways we’ve been there for them — dropping off a pizza gift card and a 6-pack for New Year’s Eve while they were quarantining, loading them up with hand sanitizer and wipes for the wife’s school classroom, always making sure they feel extra celebrated on their birthdays — none of this out of ego, but just feeling happy to invest in people. This is just what friends do.

My mouth kept moving while my brain continued to process. I confessed that I want to be people who are known for consistency, for loyalty, for empathy. I want people to feel seen and heard when they talk to us. I want to be known for our generosity and thoughtfulness. I want people to feel warm and so loved when they’re around us.

And just like that, it all clicked.

I walked back to the blank worksheet and completed it in under 15 minutes.

People need people when the highs get low
The world’s a bit too heavy for one shoulder to hold
The strongest souls still wear out, and the hardest hearts still break
Sometimes you ain’t alright and sometimes that’s okay
So if you’re asking me
It’s what else this world can be
People need people

—Maddie & Tae, from the Breakthrough soundtrack

I’m seeing connections between my personal learning and real world experience. People need people. After my appointment yesterday, I feel the weight of this even more.

May everyone be so blessed to have someone listen and really hear them. May everyone be so blessed to have someone say they want to walk with them through the hard stuff. May everyone be so blessed to find, through the actions of others, that they’re not alone.

And may I have a big heart, listening ears, and guiding discernment to be that person for others when they need a bolster of hope most.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Karen Wyler says:

    You are Jesus with skin❣️ Just read this to your Dad. He said he thought this was one of your finest blogs.

    This encouraged me SO much. Thank you for sharing. Love, hugs and prayers always ❤️


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda says:

      Thank you for the encouragement! Love you both!


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