Why hope really matters

Posted 5/15/20

We are living in a global crisis. In such a time as this, fear abounds. Fear for our health, fear for our economy and fear of the unknown. This is a time when hope matters.

Perhaps a mantra or …

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Why hope really matters

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We are living in a global crisis. In such a time as this, fear abounds. Fear for our health, fear for our economy and fear of the unknown. This is a time when hope matters.

Perhaps a mantra or verse of sacred scripture helps you “keep calm and carry on” as the slogan goes. You can also find hope in the actions and attitudes of folks around you. People do small things with great love.

I was in the checkout line at the grocery store. These days, shopping involves masks, gloves and, even if there is no toilet paper to be found, there’s anxiety on every aisle.

Yet the young clerk at the register was calm and collected. Her generation is often maligned as selfish and lazy, but I watched her go the extra mile with a smile, loading an elderly man’s groceries into his cart. Then, I heard her wish him a “blessed day.”

“Bless you,” the man replied.

A word about this word, bless. I grew up in the South, so I know that the phrase “bless your heart” may be used as an excuse to say whatever god-awful thing you want about another person.

But to be blessed often means to receive — shelter, food and health. Blessing entails happiness, grace and favor. We count our blessings and our grateful for them.

Blessing can also refer to our act of giving. The old German root of “bless” is the same as “blood” which referred to animal sacrifices on an altar. Today, we can bless others with our loving sacrifices in our relationships.

Thinking of that man in the grocery store, I know that many of our elders are tucked out of sight in assisted living facilities. The virus has devastated many of these communities. These men and women had lived through wars, stock market crashes and diseases. Many had survived both global and personal tragedies. And now many have suffered and died alone. It is a terrible tragedy that brings tears to my eyes even writing the words.

Yet, I also know people do great things in the greatest love. There are nurses who risk their own lives in order to care for these elders. One nurse held a friend’s mother in her arms as the dying woman breathed her last. When my friend called to express his gratitude, this nurse replied that it was a blessing. How could such a tragedy be a blessing?

Maybe you are familiar with the notion of being blessed to be a blessing. Such a blessing is often about compassion — a word that means to suffer with. To suffer with another person’s suffering is to put love into action. It is to live your life at its holiest. Perhaps a loving sacrifice for another gives a blessing that lives even after your light has departed from this world.

I only know that I must share these stories because they bring me hope in the dark. Like a candle, maybe you too, can carry such light wherever you go.


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