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