Hold on to hope

Easter is our season of hope. But it is easy to get distracted and overwhelmed by all the news. I know better than to think that if I just ignore the news, stay away from things that are negative or that bring me down, that I will be better off. We cannot allow ourselves to get to the point that we are numb to the news or ignore it. But what is the answer? I thought I have to focus on hope, the answer lies in the hope that things can change.

I contemplated all the news that crossed my path this week. I watched news reports of young individuals getting shot going to the wrong house or trying to get in the wrong car in a parking lot. I watched David Muir’s daily segments this week on ABC Evening News about the issues with climate change and the resulting rains and historic flooding in South Sudan. It has caused a food shortage for the Sudanese, fields and huts are covered and mothers were neck deep in water picking lily leaves for food. That was before the political unrest that broke out in Khartoum. I read the latest issue of National Geographic that the Florida panther, whose numbers were on the brink of extinction, is showing signs of coming back in Florida but there is still reason for concern. As an example, two young kittens were removed to safety when the mother was struck by a car and brought to a facility for healing. When the family was returned to the wild, in a Conservation Center, the kittens were both hit by cars and killed. Is there hope after reading all of that?

Yes, there is. People responded to David Muir’s segment and sent over $2 million dollars to support The World Food Programme. People around the country continue to stand up and demand more restrictions on gun purchases, especially to individuals with mental health or previous issues with the law. Many of us try to make better decisions regarding our carbon footprint and move away from being a throw-away society.

As I sat at my desk doing some banking paperwork, I glanced up and noticed the “little bag of hope” that my cousin gave me last week when we got together to catch up on life. It is a sweet little reminder to look for moments in every day that can lift and encourage. It has a star to wish upon, a candle to remind me that there is light to be found in every darkness, an angel to protect and guide, a flower to remind me of beautiful things in the world, a key to unlock my inner strength and a heart to remind me that I am always loved. It pretty much covers all the aspects of life that nurture and strength hope.

I thought about the visit to an area church on Friday evening to see the relics of Blessed Carlo Acutis and St. Manuel Gonzalez Garcia. I stood in line as people moved forward to venerate the relics and say their personal prayers for intercession, inviting God to help us grow in faith.

We pray because we have hope, hope for God’s hand to reach out and heal us of physical, emotional or spiritual ills. We listen to God’s word, as the disciples did on the road to Emmaus, the Gospel Reading for this Third Sunday of Easter, unaware that it was the Resurrected Jesus speaking to them and interpreting scripture to them. We listen to and reflect on God’s Word, open to receive the direction we seek, solutions to problems.

But still the issues are big, how do we suppose we can make a difference? Then I encountered the words of John O’Donohue, one of my favorite authors and poets, on his Facebook page which his family maintains. I was reminded, in the excerpt from his book, Eternal Echoes, that we can make a difference by staying true to who we are, what we believe in and the hope we hold in our hearts. If we can “find a creative harmony between your soul and your life, you will have found something infinitely precious.” John continues as he writes “You may not be able to do much about the great problems of the world or change the situation you are in, but if you can awaken the eternal beauty and light of your soul, you will bring light wherever you go.” That my friends, brings me great hope!

So let us look for the little signs every day, those God moments, that encourage us to keep believing in the good in the world. Even though the weather has not completely switched to Spring yet, my plants are resilient and keep growing. The geese show up by the water by my favorite grocery store every year and then soon the little goslings follow their parent geese back and forth across the street from their little home (wherever it is) to the water and back again. The City of Peru added a Geese Crossing sign as a warning to drivers to slow down and keep the family safe. A small light in the world. Together we can make the darkness a little less enveloping, we can bring some light, our light, to the places and people we encounter. Let’s keep that hope alive!

Peace, Deena

Photo: from my photo album, a “little bag of hope”

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