Easter is a good time to pause, look around, and ask yourself, “What gives me hope?” After all, Easter is the great feast of hope. Jesus rose from the dead! Alleluia! He conquered sin and death! Alleluia! We’re on the winning team! Alleluia! At its best, Easter gives us a new way of seeing reality—to see beneath the obvious pains, sorrows, violence, and injustices around us and to detect the myriad little signs of hope nestled in our everyday. Here are 30 things (some of them personal) that give me hope. It is my “hope” that this list inspires you to draw up your own list.
1. The little Ukrainian girl singing “Let It Go” in the underground bomb shelter in Kyiv.
2. The upcoming wedding of Zach and Hailey (my grandnephew and his fiancee).
3. A purple crocus pushing up through the snow.
4. A newborn baby. (A newborn anything really: kitten, puppy, robin, fox, rhino, elephant, whale, sea turtle, maple tree and yes, even snake…)
5. Andy Williams singing “Moon River.”
6. Easter lilies in Church—their visual beauty, yes, but more importantly for me, their fragrance.
8. How I continue to pray every morning after all these years of living… (Where does my deep desire and persistent longing to connect daily with God come from?)
9. Volunteers in a hospital pushing patients, staffing the gift shop, delivering mail. I confess, volunteers anywhere give me hope!
10. A child laughing at the knock-knock joke she just told.
11. Being with a good friend.
12. Anyone over 65 who is still basically cheerful.
13. A priest working on his homily.
14. Church marquees that carry messages like, “If God is your co-pilot, switch seats.”
15. My parents’ wedding picture.
14. Kids making their First Communion.
16. A blank computer screen waiting for me to begin typing my next blog. (I admit, sometimes that same blank computer screen elicits not hope, but terror!)
17. Jesus’ words: “Consider the lilies of the field.”
18. At the Easter vigil, gazing down at the flame of the little candle in my hand. And seeing the flames of everybody else in church too.
19. All the ordinary people I see or interact with every day who (I sense) are genuinely good.
20. Old family recipes such as chicken paprikash… dumplings… kolachki.
21. Any beautiful quotation—like this one from Annie Dillard: “Our life is a faint tracing on the surface of mystery.”
22. The parable of the prodigal son. Always.
23. Peeling a room temperature orange. Slowly. Reverently. Studying its inner structure. Inhaling its aroma. And delighting in its juicy sweetness.
24. The “Hallelujah Chorus.”
25. A glass of wine.
26. Authors Barbara Brown Taylor, Kathy Coffey, Jan L. Richardson, Rachel Held Evans.
27. First responders.
28. The other voters I see at the polling place.
29. Watching the opening credits of a movie recommended to me by a friend.
30. A child taking me excitedly by the hand to show me the chrysalis in his backyard.
What also gives me hope? YOU, all my dear readers! I am amazed by how many of you read this blog every week. I always wonder, “Who ARE you, anyway?” And, “WHY are you reading this?” It’s such a mystery… But thank you so much for reading my blog… for commenting (or not)… for inspiring me by your words and insights and stories. I wish each one of you a very:
PS: I will not post a reflection next week, April 25. I’m taking a day off! My blog will return as usual on Monday, May 2. (If your missing your dose of “Sunflower Seeds” next week, you can always go to the site and search some of the past posts. There are over 400 to choose from! Thanks again!
Two questions for reflection:
Is there anything on my list that might be on your list? If so which item(s)?
What other things would be on your list? Would you be willing to share any of them with us below?
I chose a contemporary Easter song by Sarah Hart, a leading figure in contemporary Catholic music. Not only has she recorded her own albums, she has written songs for other singers including Amy Grant, Celtic Women, and the Newsboys. In addition, she has written music for numerous movies. You can check out her website for more information: https://www.sarahhart.com.
Here is Sarah Hart’s “Hallelujah Is Our Song”:
I welcome you to share some of your thoughts below–especially some of the answers to the reflection questions. You know how much our readers love reading your comments!