Hold fast to hope, hold fast to your family

Yesterday my three oldest children found me slumped over sitting on my bed silently weeping. When they skipped in with baby brother scooting along behind them, I tried to sweep the tears away, but they know a sad mama when they see one.

“Mommy, what’s wrong?” my oldest asked.

“You’re crying,” my 5-year-old said.

“Why you cry?” the 3-year-old asked.

“Aggle. Flabble. Blabble,” Thomas babbled just like Knuffle Bunny’s Trixie.

“I’m just sad.”

That’s all I could muster, which was probably good because as much as I’ve wanted to filter out the adult world I’ve been failing miserably in the wake of a few lousy weeks. My children have witnessed more than sadness. They’ve seen some sarcasm and anger from me, too. They’ve seen some despair and anxiety. I’ve blurred the boundaries between an adult and a child’s world. Forgive me, sweet children. They’ve also overheard a rant or two. And I hate rants. Rants are based upon passion and feeling, and I believe even the matters of my heart must be fought for using logic, intellect, truth and, above all charity.

I sniffled some more, tried to dam the steady flow of silent tears, and then just sighed.

“Look on the bright side,” my soon-to-be 8-year-old said. I waited for her to further define “bright side.” When she was silent, I slumped a little lower. I looked at her and her siblings and waited for them to give me something to hope for. Then I realized I was looking right at it. Hope itself was hovering around me on my bed in the form of four squirmy and concerned children.

Lelia over at Like Mother, Like Daughter challenged her readers the day after the election to embrace one small act of faith here right now. (Thank you, dear Angela, for sharing this with me. I needed it.) She wrote,

This morning I wish us all a new heart for loving the exact life we are in.

The here and now is all we have. We can resolve to make things better. We can change the things we aren’t happy with… maybe.

It’s a big act of faith to be willing to put more energy into the here and now that we are living. Our reality.

Want to change the world?

Love your home. Keep your home.

I’ve been so worried about the future of my children that I’ve been tarnishing their present. I’ve been so sad and overwhelmed with anxiety that I’ve allowed it to eclipse my hope for my children. I have been so mired in “what ifs” that I’ve been impervious to the hope that is my children. I’ve been so bent on changing others’ perspectives that I’ve been blind to my children’s perspective – how they might see me, their life, their future world. A mom furiously typing with her thumbs on her phone, a mom crying, a wife asking her husband what he thinks will happen with his work and job with little ones within an earshot…shame on me.

I know not everyone understands why a big chunk of the nation is sad or worried. I received a gloating email from a friend with a very different worldview than I have who felt she had plenty to celebrate. These people, in fact, feel like they have more hope right now because of who is in office. I don’t agree, but the polarization is another source of my sadness. I’d said I was going to take a sabbatical from the online life, but I kept perusing my Twitter feed and was stunned by the amount of bickering that came from both sides and even hatred that can be hurled in less than 140 characters.

My husband keeps telling me to walk away from it. Sometimes I feel like he’s just giving up the fight. But, maybe, he has accepted what he can control and what he cannot. Maybe he’s choosing to fight a smaller scale battle but no less important one and to love his family well, to not grow bitter, to be wary of fear mongering, to work hard, to do what’s right, and to be grateful for all that we have. Maybe it’s time to serve my children, my home, my vessels of hope more than serving my Twitter feed. Maybe my husband knows that my mission field is right here within the walls of my home. To love my children into loving.

I was tossing some soccer balls in the trunk of my van yesterday post-sob fest when I saw my “Choose Life” license plate, and it made me pause. That line – “Choose Life” – is about more than being pro-life. It’s about being pro-hope. It’s about believing that as hard as things are, as scared as you are, as unclear as the future may be, there’s a potential for a whole lot of goodness, plenty of beauty, and yes, life to come out of the darkness. Sometimes that hope is in a baby you didn’t think you could possibly have. Sometimes it’s simply in loving the babies already in your arms as well as loving and embracing the life you wake up to each morning.

I choose life. Not only that, but I choose to love this life I’m in and this family I have in my midst. I choose hope and in doing so I must raise myself to a spiritual level that lasts beyond all that is changing.

“Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. ‘Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.’The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men’s activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, CCC 1817-1818

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15 Responses to “Hold fast to hope, hold fast to your family”
  1. Misty says:

    Hi Kate,
    I wrote about my own post-election funk yesterday. It has felt like a death in the family and most of my friends feel the same way. We are looking into each other’s eyes for solace and seeing the loss of hope. Thanks for your uplifting message about hope today. Of course, with God, there is always hope but I think I am moving into settling for learning how to “cope”. There is a new American reality and I don’t think it can change in four years or even fourteen. As for the social media, I will say that it has made this experience so much more bearable for me. If not for the conservative posts on Twitter I would have felt totally alone. We need to stand together, unafraid to stand for Biblical truth. My Twitter feed helps. (Facebook does not.) Blogs like yours help too. More than you know.
    God bless and hug them tight.

    • Kate Wicker says:

      I feel hollowed out, Misty. I agree with you that our American Dream has been crushed in many ways. But if I dwell on it too much my tendency toward melancholy will swallow me whole and will ruin my children’s present (and mine, too) no matter what the future holds.

      I’m being challenged spiritually like never before. I hope I can rise to the challenge.

      I also have found solace on Twitter and on blogs like yours, but I also sometimes try too hard to convince others who see things differently to change their worldview. We need people to keep up the good fight, but I’m not sure I’m the person to do that right now. I haven’t been the best mom this week. :-)

      I am rambling. That’s what heartbroken people do.

      Have a good weekend!!!

  2. Kate says:

    Thank you, Kate.
    Now is definately the time to demonstrate that being pro-life is so much more than just “pro-birth” as some (many?) will accuse. And it is most especially our hope and joy that will do that. I have a sign up on our front door (because I pass it about a million times a day) to remind me to “do small things with great love” and as cheesey as it is that’s where it’s all at – our families are so small in comparison to the world but can make all the difference. :)

  3. Jennifer says:

    You took many of the words right out of my mouth, along with the feelings of my heart. Wednesday was a BAD DAY for me, and I wept most of the day. I felt so crushed by a heavy sadness, almost despair. It was like I’d witnessed the death of my country, yet half the people in it were partying and cheering its demise. I feel country-less. I have to battle an incredible anger toward all the people who chose this disastrous outcome, who chose this scoundrel they hail as a hero.
    I, too, realized that I was losing hope, and losing sight of my real vocation and my obligations. My children still need a happy mother who rejoices in them and loves them with a full heart. They don’t need a steady stream of worry and fear coming from me regarding the future. But what a challenge this is, because I am still worried and fearful and so very, very sad. I feel like I’m running through the stages of grief in a loop, over and over quickly, all day long. I am mourning, and I think it’s appropriate to mourn. Yet, these are the times we were born for, and God expects us to be the Light in the darkness. Time for courage, and time for fidelity and HOPE. There are difficult years ahead for sure. We will suffer greatly. But there’s no victory without the cross. And we already know how THAT defeat turned out!!
    Bless you, Kate.

  4. Marie says:

    Thank you, Kate. This is beautiful. I’ve been so thankful this week for the internet that allows us to connect with and be uplifted by likeminded friends! I just block all the opposition. : ) I’ve also been thankful that I didn’t really have to explain this election to my children (3.5 and 1.5), but I know my sadness affected our life and home, and for that I am sorry. I will continue to pray that in four years we have reason to celebrate.

  5. Maggie says:

    This is an absolutely beautiful post, Kate. I have tears running down my cheeks…

    I love the way you connect pro-life with pro-hope. It is so hard to stay out of the despair pit, which is where I find myself most of the time.

  6. Kathy says:

    I do think faithful pro-life Catholics put too much hope in Romney. I never believed Romney was the answer to anything, only a mildly lesser version of the problem (culture of life vs death). He and the Republican Party have the same focus–money (better called “materialism”)–as do the Democrats. The economic goals expressed in this campaign by both parties were the same. The only divergence came in slightly different approaches.

    Yes, hold on to your families! Teach your children what is important in life and what is not. They are going to face a harsher world than we do now. The persecution against faithful Catholics will increase. We need to be better Catholics, more faithful Catholics. Pray for our faithful priests and bishops, and especially our Holy Father.

  7. John Janaro says:

    This is what many are realizing, and this is good. God bless you. I hope that you can continue to share your gifts with others through the internet. Pray for God’s grace, and do what you can with peace, without hurry, in His time.

  8. Karen says:

    Hi Kate! You know how much I love your posts. I have shared quite a few of them with my friends through email and on Facebook. You always seem to type exactly what I have on my mind at the time. It’s almost freaky. I also have to tell you that I feel your pain about the Internet. I kept taking sabbaticals from Facebook and would go back to the same old ways…. But while I was on my break, my friends told me I was more peaceful. I felt it too. I paid more attention to who is IN my life, rather than people who are on the computer screen that I have never met and never will meet. I’m not saying there can’t be good with the Internet, but I think it can get to us. And it sounds like it’s getting to you. I actually cancelled my Facebook account on Tuesday, election day. Deleted it. Gone, well in 14 days (apparently they give you 14 days to change your mind and sign back in). I’m not signing back in. I have neglected my children, my husband, and my home long enough. I’m ready to make that change. The Internet will always be here. Your children are growing up too fast to miss where they are. Enjoy them for the enjoyment. Look into their eyes and love them for being there with you, right now. That’s what I’m TRYING to do. Have faith that God is going to lead us to Him. He will you know. 😉 When I used to get into back and forths online, my husband would say the same thing yours does to you. And while I hate to admit it, I think they’re right. I was just looking for a fight, and I think my opponents were too. My main focus now is making my family holier, starting with numero uno: me. If I’m not holy, what kind of an example am I setting for my children? My husband? What message am I sending to the people I MEET every day who don’t see Christ’s joy and love in me? How are we to evangelize if we are so sad?

    Pray about it. Ask God where He wants you to be, and be open and trustful in His love for you. He loves you and your family and all He wants is us to want Him and grow closer to Him every day. If you feel the Internet is preventing that, then, well, I think you know what your answer is.

    Much love and peace to you. And thank you SO MUCH for putting yourself on the Internet like you do. I have learned so much, but I also know that you are a mom and while I would miss reading your posts, you have to do for YOU, not for us. <3

    • Kate Wicker says:

      You know, I was just about to champion in another combox what social justice means to me and then I saw your comment come through (you’ve now are the third person who has gently told me to turn down the noise and take a breather). I’m turning away from this blasted computer and loving my family. Now.

      Thank you for being an instrument in God’s hand.

      And thank you to everyone for their kinds words and for being buoyed by hope.

      God bless.

  9. Karen says:

    Good for you, Kate!!! Much love and peace to you and your family!!

  10. This post has haunted me since I read it, and it has been hard to get the chance to come back and comment. The night of the election, I really felt that all was lost. I believe that the majority of this country is so self centered and frankly, purposefully and lazily ignorant of the real issues that concern our very survival, that there is no room for any kind of discussion. I know there is hope, because I can check my reader and find posts like these, written from people like me (a used-to-be lawyer), raising a family like mine. I have hope in my children. So many people were praying for this election, and the result had to be something that God wants/expects us to weather. It hurts to see the hateful gloating. It is disconcerting to feel so marginalized. Maybe we are supposed to disengage and focus, 100%, on what is in front of us. I hope also that you can find some sleep. I know how hard that is, when there is no relief in sight.

  11. Anne says:


    I came across your website a few months ago and enjoy reading your posts. I am a frequent reader of catholicmom.com and now yours too. I just want to say that your post to the election outcome was well stated. Last Tuesday night and Wednesday I was speechless and could not believe this President was re-elected which may be another long four years. I am a mom of 5 boys and finishing up my teaching degree with one class to go and then on to student teaching. My husband is in the medical field and works as a COO for a group of doctors. The Obama care that will now be put fully into place in 2014 will have a major impact on his job and doctors with all of the cuts to medicare and the hidden taxes in this new law. It is uncertain how this will be on our family in the next two years, but as a Catholic family it was also an issue for the pro-life issues in this election.

  12. Maria says:

    The only problem with hope is that it for heaven — it says nothing about the situation on earth. I do have the hope of heaven (in spe, not in re), but I do not have an awful lot of hope for earth — our culture, our country — right now.


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