The End of Hope

I am numb.

The fear - the panic - the frustration, the hopelessness is so overwhelming I don't feel anything anymore.

I imagine this is what it must be like to freeze to death, that point that comes when you can't even feel the cold anymore.

It feels like all the joy has been sucked out of our lives.

"Vanity, vanity, all is vanity... a mere chasing after the wind." I am beginning to understand just what that means.

So now it is almost 1:00 in the morning. I am sick; that sore throat and pressure in my chest that tells me something is coming on. But I don't feel like going to bed, even though I am tired.

Dani is mad at me, or frustrated with me, or something. Tonight she said to me, "I can't do this alone," implying that I must not be doing my part. I feel like I am doing all that I can do.

She went to bed not speaking to me, with the resignation that life is hell, and she had just better get used to it.

Then there's our house. We have blankets hanging over windows. Holes in the walls that go through to the lathe work. Paint cracked, chipped and peeling. And clutter. Clutter, piles of clutter, everywhere you turn. And it is beyond our ability to do anything about it. Or so it feels.

We have joked that for the last four years our life has felt like that guy on the Ed Sullivan show who kept all those plates spinning in the air.

Except the plates are crashing to the floor now. While we run - too late - to catch one, two more are falling behind us.

The kids never do anything without first complaining or whining or simply ignoring us. They have no sense of family, of this thing that is greater than each of them alone... but then, come to think of it, neither do I. Or at least, I didn't until now. The truth is, I have always lived for myself first. I have never put my family, or the community first. I have never seen that the community - the body of people in which I live and belong - I have never seen that its health is my health. I am paying for that folly now.

Our life feels completely out of control and beyond hope. The game is over. We lose.

I have no idea what to do.

What do you you do when you have tried your best - and failed miserably? Failed, and failed, and keep failing day after day? I don't know how many times we have gone to bed in complete frustration, and then said, "We'll just have to redouble our efforts tomorrow."

How many times can you redouble your efforts?

Is God really there? Does he care? Is he really watching out for us? Why doesn't he help? We doesn't he DO something?

So I am sitting on the couch late at night, aimlessly flipping through the channels on our new $600, big screen TV we had no business in the world buying. And I'm looking for something to give meaning to my life... expecting just a little too much from technology... but apparently hoping, I guess, to find "The God Channel," God right there, speaking directly to me. The best I could do was Martha Stewart.

Oh God, please help.

Then from somewhere these words came to me. "I will never fail you or forsake you."

"I will never fail you or forsake you."


by Paul Dallgas-Frey
Winter, 1997

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