As told by Bill Gunnin
Hope is a four-letter word. Most people think of it as a positive word, a word that looks forward. For me, with my head injury, it is a word that makes me sick. A tormenting word, which never works out for me. Most of the time the feeling I have is one of being heartsick. Inside, I have so many thoughts and so many things I want to do. I am about to explode with things I have to give, but I have nowhere to give them. I am a unique person and I have talents and so much inside of me, but there seems to be no outlet for them. People say these things to me, have words for me, and tell me how there are plenty of places for me to use my gifts. I gain so much hope because it stirs inside of me. I am a visionary, but then nothing comes to pass and there is not fulfillment, so I get heartsick. It is a terrible cycle to live with over and over and over again.
I feel like God is calling me to great things but it feels impossible, because I don’t know what to do to get there. I see ahead, but the steps are invisible to me. I have these limitations, which I am just now beginning to recognize. I am limited. I know God’s not limited, but I am. It’s like wanting to be the president of a company right out of school. I see the big things that need to be done, but I have no experience or ability to do them. What I have to give is distinctive…there is no one else like me. There is not someone I can follow. What I see is unique and no one has gone there before. So, I feel on my own to figure it out. In order to get where I want to go you have to have experience, background, or education, in order for doors to open. I feel I am 30 years too late. I am finally trying to do what I should have done 30 years ago. Find a career path, follow it to do something I want to do, but the last thirty years do not open the doors of where I want to go now. On paper, I don’t look very good. And there is frustration that most people don’t even understand me. I don’t feel like I get any credit for any of my hard work in the jobs I have had. It didn’t matter how hard I worked, or how productive I was, I was skipped over for advancement time and time again. Part of my frustration is that I am unnoticed and I have a fear that I have left no impact where I have been. So, I can’t help but second guess everything I have done in my past. I have some regrets and I feel I have blown it and missed opportunities. It makes it hard to see the opportunities that are available. I still feel all alone in it. Heartsick.
Everybody knows the verse in Proverbs 13:12. I have the first half of this verse memorized, but now I am looking at the second part that most people do not remember. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” Hope and desire are linked. Hope is related to what you desire, being accomplished. The totality of man’s inner nature…the heart..is where the deepest innermost feelings reside. Different translations say it differently. The message says, “Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick, but a sudden good break can turn life around.” Or a longing fulfilled. All I know is that there is no longing fulfilled and it seems there are very few good breaks that come my way regarding what I want to do.
What I do know is this…Hope deferred afflicts my soul…my heart.
So here I am again. Looking for a job again, for what feels like the millionth time. It’s like now I am seeing things as brand new. In some ways, I feel like a kid right out of college, with the world at my feet and so many directions. I can start fresh and begin again. Yet I have trouble with making decisions and finding directions…and I have this hope that has never been fulfilled, so I have trouble hoping. Hope is a bad word to me. So instead of hoping, I feel like crying. I have a desire, even, to cry it all out to release the burden of it.
Every single time, I get stirred up inside in my spirit man and a gift of faith or calling from deep within rises up. But with the excitement, there is a shadow over it that knows this desire is strong, but I will go nowhere with it. Hope feels like a trap to me. It’s different from the wall that I cannot get over…instead it feels more like something hanging over me…like a roof or ceiling where the real me cannot be seen. I am hidden under a cloud preventing others from seeing me and what I have that is good.
The one place I feel freedom is in worship. Music lets me be myself…all broken, but with no limits. I love to worship. But even in worship, especially in worship, I feel things rise up in me. I hear songs, and I see what could be. Good worship gives me no desire to be leading it…but I do have a desire to come along side and help others to develop and grow. I have something to impart to others and I would love to help them move out in worship and songs. I don’t want to be the one leading on the stage, I want to be the one supporting the one on the stage, and helping them find their gifts and move in them in order to draw people into the presence of God. There are songs in me, but they can’t come out without others, and there are songs in them that cannot come out if they are alone. It is a corporate thing. You have to feed the spirit, but all the other stuff in life sucks it out of me and leaves me feeling the desire, but hopeless to accomplish it.