If you practice any sort of faith at all, I hope it brings you comfort and joy.

I am sitting in a hospital, again, the third time this year that I’ve watched my husband practically hyperventilate over anxiety, cry at the same time he’s laughing, and pray for a woman next to his pre-op bay who is having her breasts removed.

You may think this sounds desperate…and it is, because he is out of control. But his hope rests in a creator to whom he prays, on his knees, every morning.

I’ve heard it said that to have faith, you must be simple as a child. Not from where I sit. To have faith is to deal with the complexities of humanity, to grapple with pure love expressed in a variety of religions, to wonder, and to rail against injustice. And to love. And love. And love, again.

Faith looks straight in the eyes of hate. Faith softly faces the cynic. Being a Christian doesn’t mean that you feel like you’ve got it all sorted. It rests in the surety that it’s not necessary to sort a thing but to love one’s neighbor.

From the surgical waiting center at Taubman, there is a garden, losely termed, a space to sit outside and breathe. You can look up at the sky. Watch people walk by, wheel by, or sit and talk with family and friends. Today, we found a shiny penny, a sign of corporal good luck (at least to those of our generation who still think a penny has any worth). Bill picked it up as a sign of hope and successful healing.

“Good luck. Have hope.”

I left another shiny penny for someone who will come after us. We pass hope along. We share good news. It’s what Christians are called to do. You, too?

I’m sorry about the Starbucks ridiculousness, but that was one guy inciting a bunch of right-wings and crazies. Most don’t care at all what’s on a paper cup.

Where it goes wrong, for us all, is when the slander starts to include the words, “all” and “everyone.” All of this race and that ethnicity. ¬†“Christians,” and “that corporation” wanting to ban Christmas, and “the movement” trying to do away with a religion that celebrates a birth in Bethlehem.

For Christmas, if I could, I would ask for an end to absolutes. No more “they all” and “we can’t,” as if a wave of an arm can encompass the enormity and grandeur and frailty. If you need a reminder of just how small and destructible we are, you need only sit here in a surgical waiting room.

UMHS Wall of Hope
UMHS Wall of Hope

But it is also a place of hope. There’s a wall of hope, just across from me. And so I wish you tidings of comfort and joy, in whatever way you celebrate.

And comfort and joy if you don’t celebrate at all.