In reading today’s reflection from the Morneau book, I read this statement: Pessimism can sweep through the human heart.
I have not felt that as much as I have in this past year. One thing after another, beginning with David Bowie and Alan Rickman and most recently with George Michael and Carrie Fisher. I can’t list all of the names that have affected me this year, so, so many, none more important and felt than my mother-in-law who passed away suddenly in June. And then there’s the election. This year has been a lot; too much in fact.
In our home, everything is clouded with the loss of my children’s last grandparent, the only one my youngest two knew.
It’s been a hard balance to maintain, keeping things hopeful for my kids while continuing to honor the memory of their grandmother. I could talk for hours about her, and in the next few months I will talk some more.
This is our first Christmas.
One of the things that was difficult for me was Christmas shopping. I’d see something and think that it was perfect for her, and then I’d remember and walk on by. It was too much.
Then I embraced it.
She loved cardinals. We always gave her a cardinal ornament for Christmas and often also for her birthday in January, so instead of walking past the cardinals, I bought two for our tree. I thought it would upset my husband, but he said we should hang them near the top.
I also went to our local Irish import shop for a Celtic necklace for my close friend, and while I was there, I noticed the candy set out for Christmas. I decided to buy a selection to give to the kids in honor of their grandmother and her homeland, and the accent they knew so well and loved.
It is only recently that I understand that word, bittersweet – the simultaneous joy and sad; the pessimism with the path to hope that we only need to find, to shine a light on the dark.
Meditation: Does too much reading of history or current events threaten your hope? What are some ways of sustaining hope in a world wrestling with so much darkness?
From Daily Reflections for Advent & Christmas: Waiting in Joyful Hope 2016-17 by Bishop Robert F. Morneau
The current events of these last few months have been straining. Is there too much reading of history or current events? I don’t know. History lets us see how far we’ve come, and gives us the knowledge that we will overcome all of this, including our new president, which is the most worrisome thing I’ve had to face in these last couple of months, but I’ve seen the hope in the pages of my friends, in Robert Reich and Ezra Klein, in Connie Schultz, and in the recent remembrances and quotations of Carrie Fisher, a strong woman who took her faults and failings and showed us how to live with them and become better despite or even because of them.
We are wrestling with darkness, but whether we light a candle as we curse the darkness, we are still assured that the sun will rise in the morning, and that is our cue to rise as well; to rise up. Hope springs eternal because hope is eternal.
“Jesus said to them, ‘The light will be among you only a little while. Walk while you have the light, so that darkness may not overcome you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of the light.'”
– John 12: 35– 36
This is the reflection for today’s saint in The Big Book of Women Saints by Sarah Gallick. It is reflected along with the short bio of Saint Eulalia of Merida (292 AD-302 AD).
It struck me profound as it comes right in the middle of Chanukah, the Festival of Lights. Chanukah commemorates the rededication of the (Second) Temple in Jerusalem in 165 BCE. There was only enough oil for the eternal light to burn for one day, and to replenish the holy oil would take an eight day round trip. The oil remained burning until the men returned with a new supply.
For those who know my relationship to fandom, this Scripture Reflection also came one day after the mid season finale of Supernatural. Surrounding Season 11 is the storyline of the Darkness returning to the
Earth. The Darkness is a beautiful woman who rivals Lucifer in power. The television show has her as an equal to G-d. As she is Darkness, the only way to vanquish her is with light.
Obviously this is a fictional story in the sci-fi/fantasy genre, but I did find the coincidence of the timing of seeing the show and reading the reflection scheduled for today as enough to comment on.
I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life.
This seems a perfect way to end tonight with a reminder to this week’s theme of Light and our Lenten reflections which bring us from darkness into light. Or at least that’s the idea.
“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
“There is not enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of even one small candle.”
– Robert Alden