Tag Archive | Hope

Be Happy in Hope, and Let the Sun Shine Through You

“And as each and all of them were warmed without by the sun, so each had a private little sun for her soul to bask in; some dream, some affection, some hobby, at least some remote and distant hope which, though perhaps starving to nothing, still lived on, as hopes will. Thus they were all cheerful, and many of them merry.” – Phase the First – The Maiden, Tess of the d’Ubervilles, by Thomas Hardy

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Let the sun shine through you (photo taken while out for a walk at a near by Canadian Lake)

To put this treasure of a snippet into context, the narrator is speaking about village country girls, sometime in the later half of nineteenth century England, as they dance in a May Day celebration. But as I read this, I thought how fitting it is for young Catholic women. We should all be warmed by some hope, rooted deep within us, that sprouts itself so high it’s peeping out through our faces, where everyone will see it. The specifics need not be known by others. But a dream, a hope, a love should be so firmly rooted in us that it’s as constant and immovable as the sun itself, and warms our whole being so that those whose paths we cross are warmed by the sun within us.

Sometimes it can be tough to hold on to hope in a dream we’ve been holding onto for a long time. But hoping when everything seems hopeless, is what it’s all about. That’s what hope really is. Hope doesn’t die when the road ahead seems too vast or treacherous. On the contrary, this should invigorate us to hold on and persevere with renewed strength, knowing that at some point the road eases, or we’ll finally hit the luscious valley. The key to hope is seeing the end in your mind’s eye, and keep walking to it no matter the ruts, dips and hills that we have to trudge through to get to it.

Sometimes it feels like it’s time to let go of one dream, and find a new one. And sometimes this is the right thing to do, depending on the dream or hope – and there’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes our lives take a turn we didn’t see coming, and it changes the course of our path entirely, perhaps even away from the initial dream we had. It’s okay to let go of one dream, and pick up another. If a dream really has no chance of coming true, is it a good dream to have? Probably not. Real hope means there is a legitimate chance your dream can come true. To hold onto something that has no probable, possible chance of coming true, is not a dream that will foster healthy hope. If a dream will not foster true hope, it will be detrimental to the soul, since hope is a fundamental piece of the soul. If you’re not going up the hill, you’re rolling backwards. If there is no reasonable hope that a dream can come true if you persevere in prayer and action, it should probably be let go of, because it’s unhealthy to live in an irrational dreamland. But don’t mistake this with persevering in your hope or dream that seems like it won’t ever come true. Use the seemingly endless times, the strenuous times, the times when no matter how much you give it feels like you’ll never see your dream fulfilled, to strengthen your spirit, strengthen your resolve, and grow in love for Our Lord.

That hope or dream within you is the warmth carried through your being, that will draw others to you. Let it bring a smile to your face, let it keep you a merry and happy woman, even during the vast and treacherous times. As Catholic young women striving to be valiant, we should always be striving to bring others closer to Our Lord through our lives. And how better to bring others to him then through our own love, hope, dream, secret sunshine that we can use to show others His Love. Let the joy you find within your own hopes, dreams and desires, be magnified by His Love and shine right through you for others to see, always reflecting Our Lord’s Love.

 

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Hope in the midst and aftermath of Evil

                                             pieta

*Warning: the crime of child abduction and murder are spoken of in this post*

When I was young, stories of abduction and murder made me sick to my stomach. My insides cringed and my heart ached. I still vividly recall the traumatic event of a certain young girl when I was only a few years younger then her. I still think about her and her tragic end, every single time I pass the corner of townhouses that now stand over her old family home. I still think about her murderer too, every time I cross through that four-way-stop. Almost 15 years ago, and her death still haunts me. Or rather, my mind and heart are permanently aware of the pure evil that seeped it’s way into a man’s being, clung to his soul, and destroyed the lives of so many. Which is exactly what happened. When one allows Satan to permeate, he quickly looses sight of God. When the tunnels of grace are slowly filled with sewage, they clog up, rust, and eventually disappear. They can be re-built again, but only through complete and total repentance to Christ.

This week there was an Amber Alert that spanned BC, Alberta, Saskachewan, and Montana. A toddler was missing after her father was found dead in their home. I kept tuning in to hear an update, but there was nothing new for hours and hours. My heart ached in pain, I was nauseous, I cried, I prayed. I prayed and I prayed. Not only that she would be found unharmed and brought safely back to her mother, but that Our Lady would take pity and keep her under her protection, that Our Lord would have mercy and take care of her. Finally I went to sleep with the comfort of Our Lady of the Streets. No update the next morning. Still searching. Finally late last night, I heard the news: her body was found.

An innocent, beautiful little girl, abducted from her home in the middle of the night after her father’s murder. Killed. I don’t want to know how, I don’t want details. An over-abundance of empathy will burn horrendous details into your memory and heart forever – as I already know from past events like this. When I heard, my heart ached, almost as much as it did the night before, except – even with the most tragic news we all hoped against – I sensed a calm relief, because now I knew she was out of harms way and safe in Our Lord’s arms. She wasn’t still lost in a sea of evil, not knowing where to turn.

God always hears our prayers, and often times they are answered in a way we don’t understand. So many prayers, and yet this little girl was still killed – it would be easy to blame God in blind anger. But Our Lord can’t be where there is no room for him. If all our tunnels of grace are gone, destroyed because we blew them up or allowed them to crumble slowly over time, He has no way of reaching us. He gave us free will, and He will not re-build those tunnels and force His way in once we shut Him out. If we want Him gone, He will watch from a distance in pain and in tears and in sorrow at our self-destruction. He waits for that single moment when we perhaps stretch out our hand to him in the slightest hope of His help. He waits for any and every moment to give us what we need to be with Him. But if we never turn back, if we never stretch out that hand, or even lift our eyes in His direction, we have shut Him out by our own choice.

And this is what her murderer did. We prayed and we begged, while the angels and saints implored, and Our Lord shed tears of sorrow and agony over the sin being committed that He saw in Gethsemane and died for on Calvary. There were no tunnels, no bridges, no networks of grace that linked Our Lord to this poor soul enough to draw him away from the evil that possessed him.

Although heart-wrenchingly sad, the calm I felt at the tragic news of her death was a confidence that, at two years old, the little girl is safe now from all harm in this world. Our Lord draws the good from every situation, no matter how bleak it is. Even though she died at such a young age and didn’t get the chance to live her life long, she will now be happy for eternity. There is no chance that she will loose her soul through life and spend eternity in hell. She is now protected from every possible evil.

Her father was also killed at 27 years old. Pray for both of their souls. And pray for their murderer. His soul deserves our pity and our prayers. What a terrifying thought, to be so absorbed by Satan: to look around and see only darkness, to hear only the screams of hell, to feel only the suffocating presence of demons pushing against you. It may only be by our prayers pushing and shoving against those demons, that eventually gains a quick hole in the blackness enveloping his soul by which Our Lord can squeeze a bit of grace into, that will bring him back to Him.

There is always a ray of hope, even in the deepest, darkest caves of saddness.