Once upon a time, in a land much like our own, there was a little girl who lived in the streets.

And it was a good life – the only one that she knew, anyway.

She learned to fish in the small shallow river that ran through the town, and digging out tubers she found in the parks.

She chased about men in their tall fancy hats, asking for change – and some gave her mercy.

You do what you do to get by.

This one time, she followed a man, who kept himself hiding.

It was the end of the alley, and nowhere to turn.

Then he turned to face her, and she found that something was off.

A gaping hole opened in front of his face.

She wanted to run, but there she stood, frozen.

A bit of a blur.

The next thing she knew she was running, and running, through crickety gullies and bottomless pits, and threw herself into bushes.

Away.

The bushes were quiet – the best place to rest.

She woke up surrounded by warm, fuzzy creatures.

They really weren’t tall, but cuddly, like big fuzzy clouds.

They brought her the strange fruit that crumbled like bread – so delicious!

She called the Fluffs.

They built her a hole in the hill – the comfiest place!

It’s where she grew warm.

She liked being around them.

One day, they showed her a tunnel.

It ran into the town – through holes she could look up, see people and streets.

A real fascination!

She always kept watch for the man with the gaping hole, but she never saw him again.

One time, she watched the kids chasing the rainbow, and playing their games.

They asked her – come on, won’t you join us?

She wondered, but only a moment.

And it was such fun – to be running and laughing, and falling, and starting again.

She tried to go back to the funnel, but she couldn’t find it.

And it was okay.

She stayed at their school.

They called her “the quiet girl”.

One day, a girl told her that she was a gift, then gave her a kiss on the cheek.

Then everything changed.

Not – everything, but some things can change in an instant.

You may not see it coming, but it comes over, and – whoa!

And I think it’s hope.

It helps – keeps you going.

It lives on, inside you.

And you may not see it, or feel it, or know that it’s there, but believe you me, it’s alive!

For living with hope, tune in to the podcast: