If I was still in 8th grade...

If I was still in 8th grade, I would probably write a song about this emotion. I would probably scribble this excitement into stanzas and practice at the piano. I would write about this infinite hope holding my hand like Hercules and putting ground beneath each forward step. I would write about treasure and blessing and the joy bursting out like a thousand piñatas. I would write about these lessons I'm learning and I would not be ashamed to sing out my young, cheesy optimism. Several weeks ago I came across a huge stack of diaries, dating back to age 13 and documenting almost every year since.

As I read some of the pages, I rolled my eyes at the drama and blushed at the honesty. When I started writing, I used pencil because I thought I may have to go back and edit it for future publication. I also included chapters (again to save time in the editing process).

It all sounds so goofy now, but there is at least one thing I do not want to lose from my 8th grade self.

Hope.

Not just the melodramatic and flaky hope for a diary to be published or a song to be picked up by Point of Grace (because I sent them a song and gave permission for them to use it on their next album), but the kind of steady hope that is fueling my days. This hope is as concrete as the jungle where I now live, but it is indestructible.

This hope in the future grace of the Lord means I have certain hope for good things in this world and certain hope for eternity. This is a different language than hoping for rain or a job or a good report from the doctor. This hope, rooted in the work of Christ, is secure. I am hoping in something that will come to pass.

This is why I have joy like confetti and footsteps like dancin and days like diamonds - because God is in the heavens doing whatever He pleases, and He was pleased to call me child.

Today is my second day of work as a middle school success counselor in a rougher part of Brooklyn. A certain hope is exactly the kind - the only kind - of hope that can make this a joyful pursuit.