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Guest Post: "Hope is the Thing With Feathers" by Elizabeth Younts

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HOPE is the thing with feathers. So Emily Dickinson’s wrote in one of her poems. From the dawn of time we humans have been chasing after HOPE. We've tried to define it—tried to find it—tried to nail it down.

It is what moves us out of our despair. It is what pushes us out of bed in the morning. It is what we look for when we are hurting. The HOPE that things will get better and that healing will come.

In the same poem, Emily Dickinson wrote that HOPE sings while it perches and even in the midst of a storm—HOPE still sings—and not quietly either. I think that Emily Dickinson got it right. HOPE does its work actively and does not stop. 

HOPE is everywhere. It's easy to overlook it when the storm comes or when we have no words left to say—though hope is often written about. A famous hymn writer wrote about hope: My HOPE is built on nothing less, than Jesus blood and righteousness. And in Jeremiah, God says that He knows the plans He has for you—plans for good and not evil, to give you a future and a HOPE.

In my new release THE SOLACE OF WATER, I explore what happens in relationships when they take our eyes off of HOPE and eventually feel it doesn't exist at all anymore.

Delilah is dealing with the heaviness of her grief over losing her son and she cannot resist pouring guilt onto her daughter, Sparrow, who was the last to see the child alive. Who was partially responsible. Neither expect a quiet, reclusive Amish woman, Emma, in their new Pennsylvania town to have pain and guilt of her own, but their unlikely connection reminds them all that no one is free from a certain hopelessness they feel they are drowning in.

But, the great thing about HOPE is that even if we take our eyes off of it...it's still there and it continues to do it's thing—it doesn't take its eyes off of us. These three women learn this apart and together and it is all that can save them from themselves.

Hope sings through the gale.

It can be found.

It can be heard.

Writers since the days of the Bible have sought to understand this little word—but don't overthink it, it is all around you. In the sun that shines, in the seed that grows, and in the mere involuntary instinct it is to smile when something pleases you. And, with that, I HOPE you smile today.

THE SOLACE OF WATER:

'The Solace of Water is a gripping coming-of-age historical fiction story that will stick with readers for some time after the final word is read. Hauntingly beautiful prose is bountiful in this tightly woven tale . . . The characters demonstrate the impact secrets, guilt and unforgiveness can have on a person in this emotive gem.' (RT Book Reviews, 4 1/2 stars, TOP PICK)

In a time of grief and heartache, an unlikely friendship provides strength and solace.

After leaving her son’s grave behind in Montgomery, Alabama, Delilah Evans has little faith that moving to her husband’s hometown in Pennsylvania will bring a fresh start. Enveloped by grief and doubt, the last thing Delilah imagines is becoming friends with her reclusive Amish neighbor, Emma Mullet—yet the secrets that keep Emma isolated from her own community bond her to Delilah in delicate and unexpected ways.

Delilah’s eldest daughter, Sparrow, bears the brunt of her mother’s pain, never allowed for a moment to forget she is responsible for her brother’s death. When tensions at home become unbearable for her, she seeks peace at Emma’s house and becomes the daughter Emma has always wanted. Sparrow, however, is hiding secrets of her own—secrets that could devastate them all.

With the white, black, and Amish communities of Sinking Creek at their most divided, there seems to be little hope for reconciliation. But long-buried hurts have their way of surfacing, and Delilah and Emma find themselves facing their own self-deceptions. Together they must learn how to face the future through the healing power of forgiveness.

Eminently relevant to the beauty and struggle in America today, The Solace of Water offers a glimpse into the turbulent 1950s and reminds us that friendship rises above religion, race, and custom—and has the power to transform a broken heart.

Elizabeth Byler Younts

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