The sound of my favorite musicals have one theme in common: hope. That part where the mob in Les Miserables chorus: “When the beating of your heart echoes the beating of the drums, there is a life about to start when tomorrow comes,” gets my heart pounding faster in anticipation, everytime. When Annie belts out her “The sun will come out tomorrow… “ it just makes me want to grab a red wig and tap dance to the crescendo: “I love you tomorrow, you’re only a day away!” With Miss Saigon’s tear-jerking, “I still, I still believe, I know as long as I can keep believing…” I never get too choked up to find my voice, I join the duet and make it a triple voice harmony.
But real life’s not always a musical, not every moment is a song. There are periods when it’s dank and melancholy; when it seems like I’m kneeling more than I’m standing, begging more than rejoicing, when novena after novena string along unheard, and still nothing is changed. Even though I’ve kept my part of the bargain to give up a habit, a pleasure or vice for a special intention, Deux ex machina has refused to extend His powers over my pocket of the world. Making me wonder if God cares, if He listens, if He’s is there at all or if He even has those powers to begin with and I’m tempted to stop praying, believing, and trusting because obviously faith hasn’t done what it’s supposed to: that is, move mountains.
Just when I think God doesn’t do the impossible anymore, He performs several miracles that hit so close to home: a friend’s husband is completely freed of cancer without any treatment but prayers; my disillusioned friend falls in love; someone I love returns to the Sacrament of Confession after years of staying away; another homeschooler has birthed new life; a deserving family dear to me receives free tickets to travel; and my picky eater of a daughter decides to snack on carrots.
Such staggering news knocks me off my feet, and when I get up, the crackle of excitement stirs the stale air I breathe, and the smell of Easter lily hope has sprung eternal. Wonders, just when I think they’ve ceased, rain like celebration confetti, and suddenly, I know, I feel, I hope, someday (and soon) heaven’s going to drizzle me with a sunny rainbow of blessings because God is surely alive and Jesus rose from the dead.
So I keep kneeling, praying, fasting… you know the routine. But this time, there’s a hum in my soul and it makes all the difference. Though my mountains haven’t moved, hope sings its melody: “the hills are alive with the sound of music,” and even Mother Superior’s soprano solo of “Climb every mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow till you find your dream…” is bearable to watch without choreography or children singing.
With hope, I know that the promises God made to others are fulfilled in His perfect time and the promise He made to me will find its moment, too. Waiting and suffering aren’t necessarily terrible components of a scene when there’s hope. With hope, I believe that heaven’s producer is at work in the background, transforming character and bestowing patience; maybe getting me down on my knees some more so that I can hear the answers during the silence and be shown the way to accomplishing human solutions; or changing my heart so I can be prepared to pray for a twist in the outcome. How often it is that the darkest night in the plot, when faith is tested, is the precursor to the dawn of a grand finale.
Hope means we can put our pleas into the hands of a Loving God who directs our life in accordance with His infinite Wisdom, always in accordance with what is best for our souls. Happy endings are always ours when we love God, even if they are not in this life but the next.
My favorite musicals may have ended with a curtain call but eternal life, real life begins off the Broadway stage. And that’s where my “high hopes, pie in the sky hopes,” come from.
“Men of Galilee, why do you stand there looking up to heaven? This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, as you have seen him going into heaven.” Acts 1:11