I’ve just got back from The Rhythm of Hope, a retreat/conference day for couples going through their own journey of childlessness and infertility, where Sheila, Lizzie, Dave and I were honoured and humbled to serve, and share a bit of our stories. I know several of the couples there today have read posts on Saltwater and Honey, and it was good to say hello and learn a bit more about you. I hope those of you who were there found it a useful day (I did!) and we noticed a few new followers on our Facebook page on the way home (hello to you!) so welcome if you’re new to SWH.

During the morning sessions, I doodled a poem, which I’ve recorded as a rough-and-ready spoken word on the Facebook page, but post here for you as a kind of reflection and kind of prayer to take away from the day. Enjoy!


The rhythm of hope
is a distant heartbeat
a faint feathery flutter
on a faraway drum
buried deep down
double bubble-wrapped
in the lowest chamber of a broken heart.

The rhythm of hope is solid and consistent
but quiet, almost silent
hard to perceive
requiring new ears
to hear and believe
the One who bangs the drum.

The rhythm of hope –
it’s the hope that kills you –
as its rhythm distills in you,
in us,
an ocean of dust
and a cycle of frustration
as hope’s measure of anticipation
fills our lungs with expectation
which gives way to disappointment
after yet another appointment
and the drumbeat of hopelessness
is loud and fast
and the ocean is vast
but the rhythm of hope reminds us
to search in the dust for the diamonds.

The rhythm of hope is the slow-fast drip-drop
of salty tears, which start and stop
according to the flow of grief and grace –
beyond control –
they take their toll.

But tears are never wasted
as God bottles them
and pours them out and uses them
in the music of his grace
in the rhythm of his hope.

The rhythm of hope
is sometimes syncopated –
a jazz lament
with lots of black dots
that’s meant to disturb an upset
the humdrum 4/4
drumbeat of the 9-5
of the rhythm of so much of life.

Hope is a rhythm with lots of rests
lots of stops on the road to breathe in and ingest
and then to exhale, to rage and to wail.

So ask God
for the oxygen mask
to give you the capacity to sing your story  of childlessness and infertility
to sing with self compassion and vulnerability
to sing the tragic and the funny
to sing the saltwater and the honey
to sing the goodness of God and the hardness of life
to sing the song of songs
in the trenches
in the depths of your God-given godforsaken grief

to sing to the beat of the rhythm of Jesus
the hope of the nations
the hope of your story
the hope of God’s finest, final Word

to sing to the beat of the rhythm of hope
to sing to the rhythm of hope
to sing the rhythm of hope
to sing of hope
to hope.