hope is the thing with feathers

Faith is the Thing with Scales

Faith is a slippery thing.

Emily Dickinson calls Hope, “the thing with feathers.”* She says that Hope is like a bird that sings in your heart without stopping and without expecting anything in return.

If Hope is the thing with feathers then Faith is the thing with scales. Faith is the eel that wriggles out of your grasp. It’s that shard of eggshell trapped in slimy eggwhites that slips from your fingertip or right over of the lip of your spoon every time you try to isolate it.

Faith is rubbing alcohol with its sharp ammonia scent, disinfecting you of cynicism and doubt but then evaporating off of the warm surface of your skin and fading into thin air faster than you can catch it.

Faith is Jacob wrestling with the Angel of the Lord through the long, dark night. It’s trying to hold onto something enormous when you have such small hands.

But, like Jacob, there are brief moments when I do capture Faith and grasp it tight in my two hands. Like Jacob I say, “Don’t leave me! Or if you have to go, then mark me. Leave something of yourself with me so I can look at it and know that you are real. So I can remember this time that I caught you and looked into your eyes. So I can believe that I will find you again and again, even as you slip through my fingers.”

I am leaving for vacation tonight and will be traveling for the next two weeks with sporadic internet access so I will probably be slow with responding to messages and putting up new posts for the next few weeks. The first 52 Weeks of Adventure link-up is still open. Click on the button at the bottom of the post to add your link or to view links that others have added. 

Image Credit: Jennifer O’Kelly on Flikr

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*
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.