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In today’s guest post, Landon Saunders comments on a remarkable, uplifting excerpt from writer Nora Zeal Hurston…

I’ve just finished reading a book of essays by Zora Neale Hurston entitled “Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick.” The title itself stopped me in my tracks! She explained it this way: it means “making a way out of no-way.” Or, she added, “winning the jack pot with no other stake but a laugh.”

Somehow it made me think of where we are now. “Making a way out of no-way.” And, somehow, through great difficulty, we are “making a way.” It’s a pretty great commentary on our resilience and flexibility.

My heart brightened as I read the following lines from one of her short stories found in this book. She contrasts the little brook with the great river. Of the first she writes,

“The brook laughed and sang. When it encountered hard places in its bed, it hurled its water in sparkling dance figures up into the moonlight. It sang louder, louder; danced faster, faster, with a coquettish splash! at the vegetation on its banks. At last it danced boisterously into the bosom of the St. John’s….”

(I read these words aloud. Then I read them again. And yet again. And the words buoyed my heart.)

The great river complained to the brook, how it had disturbed its sleep. But, the brook spoke of the “flowers that bloom, the trees and wind say beautiful things to me,” and continued to speak of the lovers she had seen on her banks.

I loved Zora’s use of language, her imaginative way of viewing life, even though she lived a life of great hardship and was buried in a pauper’s cemetery in Fort Pierce, Florida. Today, she shines as one of America’s greatest writers.

We need a bit of sparkle, a moment of joyousness, a time to remember we are greater than anything that can happen to us. I will endure. You will endure. We may still “win the jackpot with no other stake but a laugh.” So, with Zora’s brook, I will take a moment and laugh and sing and dance. It makes hunkering down again a bit better. Thank you, Zora.

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