The House That Hope Builds – A SheLoves Link-Up

This piece is a bit of a strange one, at least for me. I’ve been inspired by the prose songs written by Sarah Bessey and Idelette Mcvicker over at SheLoves Magazine. And this month’s theme was hope. So this is a song for the house that hope builds, using as inspiration two quotes, one from an author and one from a poet, both of whose words are genius.IMG_4114

“The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for.
And the most you can do is live inside that hope.
Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.”
– Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

This is an essay of sticks and mortar, foundations and rooftops, sturdy walls, open windows and a wide, wide front door. This is an ode to life, in all its complexity and wonder, it’s murkiness and pain. This is a song of beauty, written in a minor key, one that resolves now and again to a glorious major chord. This is a hymn of praise and a psalm of lament. This is an acknowledgement, a breathed prayer, a testimony, a promise . . . that hope rises, even from the valley of darkness.

to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.
     – Ellen Bass

This is an encouragement to sing, to shout, to dance. And this is glad permission to weep, to wail, to wonder. This is a weaving of many colors, each of which enriches the whole; a smorgasbord of many flavors, some of them sweet, some decidedly bitter. This is a call to courage, a plea for patience, a painting done by candlelight, revealed in the brightness of day. This is Life, and this is where we live it. Right here, right now.


Will you build this house with me? We have a ‘firm foundation,’ promised us from the beginning of time, known to us in the breaking of bread. We walk with the Master Builder, the one who knows our name, the keeper of the keys, the giver of grace.

Will you build it with me?

Will you come and stand by my side. Yes, wherever you are, imagine you are standing shoulder to shoulder with me and all those who build this place. Now, will you look up? What do you see? A starry sky? A cloudy day? A canopy of trees, a row of rooftops, a scarlet light wending its way through a blue, blue dome?

Whatever your view, stand with me and look. Let your gaze relax, your mouth drop open, your lungs deflate, and then draw in the freshness you need for the task ahead.

Are you ready to work?


What’s that in your hand? What do you bring? A flagon of tears, collected from lost boys and girls? A bowl of laughter, flowing up and over the edge? A story of love and losing? A tale of lost and found?  A poem of love’s declaration, an ode to your broken dreams? A saga of satiety and fullness? A pitcher, poured out, yet ready to receive?

IMG_3624Everything is welcome, each piece necessary. For what we build is a glory. A crazy quilt of pattern and plain, a castle keep built on strength and also on weakness. These walls will withstand the wildest of winds, the roof will shelter and keep us.


Come with me now, let’s dig in and do this. We’ll whistle while we work, and let the chips fall where they may. For this is the house that hope builds, the place where everyone belongs.

Shall we begin?

Linking this with the fine people at SheLoves, their January link-up on HOPE. Maybe you could do that, too? 


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  1. another poet
    your words sing here
    Diana, your voice bright
    clear, hope shining

  2. Diana,
    I will come and stand with you and bring with me whatever I have collected over the years that I can pass along. Hope is a funny word for me, but it is not a bitter word. It is just not one that I can use right now. But standing with you and others is something I can and will do.

    • Ah, Newell. I’m sure that’s a hard word for you these days and for that, I am sorry. Thanks for standing with me, you are always welcome here.

  3. Gwen Acres says

    That is exquisite, Diana.

    ” a hymn of praise and a psalm of lament”, two sides of the human coin, I think.
    Looking forward to “digging in”.

  4. Rereading it all….so beautiful. I want to hold Ellen Bass’ poem in my hands.

  5. Erin Wilson says

    This… “Everything is welcome, each piece necessary.”
    Speaking loudly to me today.
    Thank you!

    (ps. I read your post because of SheLove’s Hope zine. Yay!)

  6. Diana, I cannot even begin to tell me what your words just did for me as I read them, over and over again. I say to God, “really? this gift? this is so beautifully spoken and so very gently and lovingly given.” Your words really are all of this, Diana. And this:

    “this is glad permission to weep, to wail, to wonder.” — I am remembering this. That I CAN be honest with how painful it is to walk the valley and the wilderness, as I have Hope for something I cannot see.

    “This is a weaving of many colors, each of which enriches the whole; a smorgasbord of many flavors, some of them sweet, some decidedly bitter.” — the whole story and how each piece matters. Yes.

    “This is a call to courage . . . ” — yes, to trust takes courage

    “. . . a plea for patience . . . ” — yes, I’ve not wanted to surrender to this, but He’s led me here

    “. . . a painting done by candlelight, revealed in the brightness of day.” — how beautiful. how He makes beauty in the dark. A promise I hold dear.

    “This is Life, and this is where we live it. Right here, right now.” — yes, our courage for now, as it is; He tells me this is my worship.

    • My goodness, Amy, what rich, kind words. Thanks so much for reading and commenting – and I’m grateful you found these words helpful.