It’s Easter Sunday, a time we Christians look to for hope and joy as we reflect on Jesus’ journey and what it means for us. But I was not raised a Christian, although I began attending church when I was 13. So for me, the Easter holiday was always a little bewildering.
One thing I think about Christmas and Easter is that we gather to deliberately bring a little light and hope into the hearts of those we love.
Pastor Keith Wiseman at the First United Methodist Church in Big Spring, Texas, gave a wonderful sermon for Easter in about 1984, around the time I elected to be baptized and joined that church. I still hear his voice when I long for hope:
“Feed my sheep. Tend my lambs.”
“Faith, hope and love.”
For me, I cannot feel hope just because it’s Easter. Peeps and colored eggs are awesome, but that’s not a source of hope for me, and neither is reading about Christ being risen from the dead.
Heather stood up in my Quaker meeting today and said love is not an act, but a process. So true.
From my life experience, I understand that happy and sad things will happen in my life, and in my forties, I find the balance of events to have been sad.
Perhaps hope is a deliberate choice, like contentment. I have a harder time with it, though. There is a child within me that still cries out for reassurance that everything is going to be okay. And I am not good at providing that reassurance, having lost my mother and many others dear to me.
I see vast and wonderful potential in my stepkids, who are all teenagers. But I also know that they have already and will continue to experience many unfair and sad life events.
I have been worried about My husband’s back pain, because I see that it has struck him down in so many ways. So many things are now excruciatingly painful or just impossible for him. He doesn’t appear to have a good way forward back into health, and as he waits, his body suffers more and more. I was overwhelmed with thoughts of hopelessness yesterday while I sat with him. I told him I couldn’t feel any hope and that it was so painful to feel that despair.
He held my hand and looked me in the eyes, and told me that this was only temporary, that he would take steps to get better. Eventually I was able to take some hope from his assurance and let go of my cares for a time.
In thinking about hope this morning, the truth in my heart is that hope is a choice, just like happiness is a choice. And we must help each other to make that choice. And every day is a new day with new potential for both hope and despair, contentment and sadness.
Mom often said, “Sylvie, you get discouraged too easily! Stop defeating yourself with negative thoughts!” My reaction was frustration; I thought of her as being incurably Pollyanna-ish.
Years later, my boyfriend Rich told me while playing a game of Magic that I gave in to my despair too easily. He said it’s not over until it’s over, even when I m only a point away from a loss. I resolved to try to hang on a bit longer, and discovered I won at least half of the games I had found to be hopeless. This informed my thinking on hope.
I also remember my own experience listening to my heart when I feel despair. What I know is that there are certain things I know to do which give me hope if I do them. They are the small things that, taken together, could turn the situation eventually. In this way there is hope in the process and process in the hope.
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