deacon Blog 1/6/2019
“HOPE is a Good Thing”
People often focus on morality as a remedy for the problems of this world. I think this is the wrong place to start. Hope is the basis for both a happy life and healthy relationships. A lack of Hope is often the genesis for decisions of desperation, resulting in poor choices. In one of my favorite movies, “The Shawshank Redemption”, there is a line that sums up this thought. It says “Hope is a good thing…maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies.” If you are not familiar with this movie I should add that this line is the comment of a prison inmate serving a life sentence, but the parallel with real life is not lost. The ways we can be “imprisoned” are endless. Self-image, finances, relationships, health, mental illness, employment, racism, sexism, guilt… you name it. Often we are hopeful without really trying. It’s on our “hard-drives” at birth. Everyday, maybe several times a day, we make deposits to our HOPE bank and go on. Some call it optimism, others positive thinking. We look for the best in a situation (or people) and consciously ignore the negative. Either way, most will agree that staying positive about our situations, working for good change, is a “good thing”. The problem is… it can be a fine line between the light of hope and the darkness of depression and despair. That place in our minds where no hope can be found, or where it has been trampled so often that propping it up seems futile. After many years working with teens I have to say this is not a black and white issue either. The palette of “grey” here is as complex as the subject and should be strongly acknowledged.
In my own “teen” years (as well as a couple decades after), my understanding of hope and its incredible value grew as I gradually opened my heart to GOD. And I don’t mean going to MASS. This practice (Mass), and receiving the Eucharist were largely lost on me back then, but I feel the Grace given to me in Mass “loosened” the tethers of situational despair. The opening of my heart has primarily been a very personal affair, a private dialogue of questioning (and listening). I came to recognize my hope as a practice of staying in “front of” situations. I often ponder Jesus’ mood, knowing the suffering HE was about to endure. I realize our lives are the same. We can dwell on the horizon and the potential (or known) traumas we may encounter and our lives can take on a certain darkness. Or, we can stay focused on a life illumined and redeemed by a small child and remain “free” of our burdens. My brother-in-law Randy has taught me this in how he handles his illness. A brain tumor.
May the “LIGHT of the WORLD” brighten every moment, lighten every load, and fill your hearts with the true JOY that comes Only from JESUS. Deacon Mike
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