This past week Max and Zach went to a midweek program for children at church. Our children’s director told me afterward of her discussions with them. She told them the story of Jesus meeting the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) and asked each child what they thought Jesus would say to each of them, today. Zach shared, “He’d say… he’d say, ‘I love you’” Then he smiled and asked her if that was the right answer. “He’d say, ‘I love you?’ That’s a great answer, Zach,” his teacher responded. Next Max told his answer, “Jesus would say, ‘Have hope.’” Max followed “have hope” with “have peace.”
Wow! Have hope. What an answer! I wish I had said that. What kind of life would you and I have if we lived everyday with those two gifts–hope and peace?
I am ever mindful of times in my life when I have felt surrounded by hope. It was like diving into the deep end of a swimming pool and everywhere I turned was water. There have been moments when I have felt engulfed in hope. A hope that is calming and soothing in nature. A hope that is not flashy, nor boastful, but is constant and steady, unwavering and assured of its place and its ultimate power.
Recently, a friend of mine gave me a piece of art. It is a statue and it stands in my kitchen beside a large yellow silk sunflower and a picture of an apple tree that Max and I drew for my dad when he lived with us. It is a carving of Smiling St. Anthony of Padua. He followed the steps of St. Francis as a wealthy child who traded his riches for a life of piety and poverty. He was famous for helping find lost stuff and for lost causes. I got so tickled at the thought of this appropriate saint. Then I read her card. It seemed right and just, because she said, “you don’t have lost cause in your vocabulary.” It was the perfect gift for me. I don’t mind hearing the word “no” because I know that my yes is right around the corner. I love betting on the long shot. I love it when the underdog wins. I love when people say, “well, I don’t think that can happen.”
When my father asked if he could come to my home from the hospital for his last days. I remember talking to the head cardiologist in the hallway. He looked straight into my eyes and said, “Young lady, I’m not sure you realize how difficult this task will be. You have two small children and a touring career and a very ill parent. I don’t believe you can do this.” I felt such a peace when I told him , “sir you don’t know me too well. Can’t is not in my vocabulary. I believe that I can and I will.” We were home by lunch and meeting with a wonderful team from Willowbrook Hospice to care for my father as he lived out his days the way he wanted to. I never once thought,” You know he’s right. I can’t do this. I’ll fail. I’ll make a mess of it.” Have I failed? Have I made a mess of things? There’s no question that I have, but I won’t have to say that I watched that particular ship sail by and did nothing.
I am ever hopeful that in jumping into the deep end, I will realize that I’m right where I need to be. In a simple way I do believe that I’ll have what I need in those moments. I believe that‘s what faith is and I do hear in my life Christ saying to me, “have hope.” My prayer is that you listen with me for those words.
all my love, Celia