Monday, April 09, 2007

Hope, Rather than Despair




In an Easter litany of the world's suffering,
Pope Benedict XVI
lamented that "nothing
positive" is happening in Iraq and decried the unrest in Afghanistan and
bloodshed in Africa and Asia. . .


"Afghanistan is marked by growing unrest and
instability," Benedict said. "In the
Middle East, besides some signs of hope in the dialogue between Israel
and the Palestinian Authority, nothing positive comes from Iraq, torn apart by
continual slaughter as the civil population flees."



The Pope's message was a somber one. And it is easy to be overwhelmed with despair when one ponders the burden of suffering, poverty, and hardship borne by so many people around the world today.


It takes work, courage perhaps, to see the world as it truly is and to still be filled with hope.


I spent this Easter far from home, away from my wife and children. I attended Easter Mass in a tent with a bunch of mostly strangers, all of whom were equally far from home this holiday season. I missed my family, the comforts of my house, and the bounty of my dinner table, which I have no doubt would have been a festive mess of colored easter eggs, spilled dye, candy, frosting and the like.


But away from home or not, I do not despair this Easter season.


It is easy to look at the many actions taken in the years since September 11 and count up the missteps and wrong turns. But we are where we are at this moment in time, one day after Easter Sunday, and there is no going back.


And where there is suffering, death, and yes, despair in Iraq and Afghanistan today, there is hope as well.


For every story emerging from these places detailing the reality of corruption, death, and failure, there are reasons to believe that all is not lost, and that the world is more than a Clean, Well Lighted Place.


There are people working in Iraq and Afghanistan to provide security, create jobs, enhance governance, open schools, and, in short, drive despair away.


Will any of this work? Who can really say?


But when I ponder the meaning of Easter, of the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, I can look beyond the darkness and despair that fills the headlines of the world, and still be hopeful. And I believe that those refuse to give in to the nothingness and meaninglessness of despair, who would put a spade to the earth, turn the soil, and plant a forest one tree at a time, or take a hammer to wood and put a roof over a school in some part of the world that most people cannot even find on the map, are truly in tune with the spirit of the holiday we celebrated yesterday.


So a happy belated Easter, dear readers, from one who still looks for and hopes for the best in this world of ours.

4 comments:

whit said...

Bob:
Sometimes we have to get away from the soft comforts of home to truly appreciate the message of Hope signified by the reason for Easter Sunday.

I'm glad that you did.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Your message of peace and hope define this season. I'm glad we have men and women like you making our world safe for our grandchildren. You all are in my prayers.

Sincerely,
A mother

2164th said...

✝ be with you. Deuce

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