Carolyn Wing Greenlee

A Reason for Hope

Once, long ago when I lived on a dead end dirt road, I noticed that the weeds that crowded the roadside were full of color. Though I had a busy schedule, I chose to stop and examine those masses of purple. To my delight, I found tiny bells with golden centers. I said, “Wow, God! You could have made everything gray. Instead, You decorated the weeds with these pretty flowers.”

Immediately I had a rush of response, the way you might if you express your appreciation for a detail of a painting, not knowing the artist is standing behind you. I sensed His pleasure. I felt the equivalent of “I’m so glad you noticed.” Then, in clear words, I heard, “I made them for hope. Have you ever noticed that the first things out of bare branches after winter are not leaves, but blossoms? I made them for hope.” Then I saw adorable fuzzy puppies, kittens, and ducklings. He repeated, “I made them for hope.” Then I saw a man with a grizzled face, torn old hat, and dirty, ragged clothes. He was standing on a broken-down covered wooden porch. His deep wrinkles and the set of his mouth showed he’d had a difficult and disappointing life. But as he watched a kitten cavorting nearby in a patch of sunlight, a tiny smile came across his face.

So it was that, in the spring of 2001, when my mother was so ill and I was frightened, worried, and sad, I adopted a little blue-eyed Siamese mix kitten and named her Hope.

When God created the heavens and the earth; the stars, moon and sun for signs and seasons; trees bearing their own seed in themselves; and seas, earth, and skies teeming with life, who would have thought He made them with us in mind? I didn’t. Yet, in that brief moment when I paused to admire purple flowers on the weeds by the road, Almighty God spoke something of His heart towards us. He knew we would face tough times and that life could wear us ragged, yet spring and a kitten tumbling in a bit of sun tells us winter is not all there is. Death does not win in the end. There is His Hope–not a wish, but an expectation, a promise, an assurance—and that Hope does not disappoint.



  1. gail

    April 27, 2011 - 11:33 AM

    Thank you! As always, your words express much of what I think about on days like this — with spring finally on its way here, too!!! You have such a beautiful ability to share love — and hope


    • Carolyn Wing Greenlee

      April 27, 2011 - 12:39 PM

      Gail, six months ago today, I kissed my husband good-bye for the last time. Winter followed with 20 days of snow on the ground. Many days of rain lashing bleak and barren branches. But now lilacs are out in profusion with bees wasting no time gathering the bounty, and I am feeling more settled in life as it is now without him or my dad or mom. I love thinking of them all in heaven where it is never winter, or spring, or anything but perfect and they are certainly never disappointed.

      • gail

        April 28, 2011 - 6:08 PM

        I always marvel at your emotional and spiritual strength!! There are many things I “know” and at moments, still struggle with in my heart! I’m getting clearer with time, for which I am grateful, but still wait on the Lord as I learn to truly let go and let HIM!!!

        Sending hugs and more hugs!!

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