SUNSHINE THROUGH THE CLOUDS
Greetings dear friends. 2020 has been a hard year in the history of America! But as a person of Faith and as a retired pastor, I believe there is hope.
As a nation we have had to struggle with many unusual things. Some of us more than others. The sickness, hospitalizations, and untimely deaths of so many caused by the virus have left us stunned and fearful.
Our health care providers have been stretched to the max and our health care facilities have been overwhelmed by a shortage of space, trained personnel, and the medicines and equipment needed to ease the widespread suffering. There is hope, however, as vaccines are now being developed.
A STRUGGLING ECONOMY
The economy with its loss of jobs, the closing of small businesses, and the changes in the way we are able to provide for ourselves and our loved ones has changed.
Hoarding, shortages, price gouging and having to go without food have become more common in recent times. Wildfires have destroyed homes and natural resources. Hurricanes have had a repeated impact on coastal areas resulting in the loss of life, homes, businesses and public buildings. We may have hope as rebuilding takes place. Hope is to be had in the responsive actions of our neighbors and fellow Americans.
This past year has seen unrest, violence and lawlessness among us. Cultural clashes have led to unequal applications of the law. Innocent people have been brutally beaten, taken advantage of, and even killed in the name of justice. Yes, 2020 has been really bad. Everyone has been touched in one way or another. Hope begins to come forth as we learn and grow and reach out to embrace others who may be different in many ways although we are the same as fellow humans.
SHARED BY ALL
Every age and gender has suffered. The youngest among us are sensitive to troubled and disquieted mothers and fathers. The education of our youth has been stuttering along as primary and secondary schools throughout our nation try to carry out their essential goals of training up the next generation. Young parents are confused and anxious about jobs, homes, and the stress of parenting in a troubled time. The middle-aged are frustrated as they see their retirement goals evaporate, and their dreams become nightmares. The oldest are hit the hardest as they reach the twilight of their lives and face loneliness and the possibility of death by virus induced suffocation.
THE DARKNESS OF DESPAIR IS REPLACED BY THE LIGHT OF HOPE
I repeat these terrible things to keep us from becoming numb to the real needs of others. The dark clouds and the storms that come with them, however, hide only briefly the sunshine of hope that is to follow.
Hope is like the sun hiding behind the clouds. As it warms the earth it disperses the clouds. As the sunshine of hope emerges our perspective changes. We see things differently when there is hope among us.
Our attitudes change, our focus becomes more clear and we reach out to one another. Hope is only meaningful when it becomes an essential part of who we are and how we think. Our attitudes change when touched by hope. We redirect our thoughts from ourselves to others. We should act on our positive attitudes.
HOW TO LET THE LIGHT OF HOPE SHINE
I think it all begins with kindness. Kindness is a type of behavior marked by acts of generosity, consideration, or concern for others, without having an expectation of praise or reward. Kindness happens when we share with others. Kindness happens when we give some of our goods to others in need. Kindness, however, includes more than our money or goods, it includes sharing an understanding of the difficulties of others.
Kindness is positive. It looks forward. It looks beyond self. Kindness is patient. It does not recoil inwardly with selfish introspection when questioned. To be kind is to be tolerant of the needs, weaknesses and limitations of others. Kindness is not arrogant, but rather seeks to understand the pain, circumstance and disadvantage of others. Most of all, I believe as a Christian that kindness is forgiving and gentle.
May I share this bible passage with you as a basis for looking forward in hope: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Cor. 13:4-7.
WHAT WE MAY DO TO HELP EACH OTHER
- Offer transportation: medical appointments, shopping, errands, change of scenery, church attendance
- Help with child care: books, supplies, comfort toys
- Communicate: phone, internet, cards and letters, (use appropriate music), skype, Zoom, email
- Contribute: food gifts, food shelf donations, prepare and drop off items made by you
- Buy and give gifts: Items of hygiene, soap, towels, tissue, toothpaste, postage stamps
Volunteer: at schools, in community, at church, in our neighborhoods, and follow the rules with joy.