Photo courtesy of A. Kasarjian Art and Photography
I was visiting my parents this weekend for the holiday and we went to mass with them today. As someone who spends most Sundays in the barn instead of in a church, it was a relaxing moment to just listen. It reminded me that it is the first day of Advent. The priest gave an inspirational homily about how this time of year is supposed to be a time of peace and encouraged all the listeners to try to let go of the everyday anxieties and to practice being in the moment. He talked about always having Hope. This struck particularly hard as I very recently found out that a young person I cared for very much had lost his hope and is no longer with us. I wish I could reach out to all the young people, actually people of all ages, who are struggling to find Hope and Peace. I wish I could tell them to look up at the birds or hold the hand of a friend or notice the smile of a loved one. Because there is always Hope, even when we can’t see it.
In light of today’s inspirational service and the previous day’s news of terrible tragedy, I asked a few people if they had ever experienced a moment where they had lost hope and just wanted to let go. Many of them had. They explained the depression and the desperation as “crushing”. They said that the thing that pulled them through was having one thing to hold onto. One thought; one person; one ray of hope about the future. And there it is again. Hope.
My hope for all of you is that if you are experiencing the crushing depression and desperation that makes you want to give up, that you can grab onto one little ray of Hope and hold on. Life changes constantly, so that desperate moment will pass. And if you are on the other side, the side where you see Hope all around you, that you can reach through the darkness that someone else is experiencing and hold onto them through their despair. We are truly all in this together. So let us take this first day of Advent, whether you celebrate this time of year in that way or not, and seek Peace and Hope. Let us be strong reminders to each other that whatever space we are in, it will not last.
For those of you who are no longer with us, we care deeply for you and we will hold you in our hearts and thoughts, forever.