Thoughts on hope

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.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Chatham, NJ

Tunisian ‘morality cops’ make asses of themselves over topless feminist

A feminist protester in Tunisia who goes by ‘Amina’ has been going topless with provocative phrases written on her chest in Arabic. Lately she’s been inspiring death threats by the local moral authorities who worry that her behavior could spread.

It’s so chilling (and backwards) that Almi Adel, head of his little virtue club, is advocating savagely killing her for this nonviolent expression.

“Tunisian newspaper Kapitalis quoted the Wahabi Salafi preacher Almi Adel, who heads the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, saying: ‘The young lady should be punished according to sharia, with 80 to 100 lashes, but [because of] the severity of the act she has committed, she deserves be stoned to death.

‘Her act could bring about an epidemic. It could be contagious and give ideas to other women. It is therefore necessary to isolate [the incident]. I wish her to be healed.'”

So, viciously and painfully hurling rocks at a harmless female is healing? I think he’s cutting off his nose to spite his face.

The weird part is that because he feels honor bound to one-up her little rebellion, that makes me feel like all females in that country should rise up and make it understood just how much they are needed by the male half of the society.

These guys are behaving like thugs – bullies. Because they have more strength and savagery than a woman they believe that gives them the right to control, force, beat, whip, and stone their women with very little oversight or review.

The Commission for the ‘Promotion’ of Virtue and Prevention of Vice should be ashamed of themselves!! I hope they get leprosy and western hospitals refuse to treat them because they’re dangerous criminals.

Here’s the Huffington Post report