Monday, March 22, 2010

Hope in the Face of Sorrow

Well, today's confession is more of a reflection and is a bit somber, I will warn you! It however, has a hopeful ending.
Confession for the day: I am a hopeful person.
I had two experiences this weekend which I will relate to you, both quite somber, which caused me a great deal of reflection upon hope.
My husband and children had the day off on Friday and we headed up Thursday evening to spend a long weekend with family 1 1/2 hours away from home.
On the way up, we drove past the scene of a horrible car accident on the freeway. It involved a semi who had driven off the freeway into the dirt enbankment right before a bridge. I could discern that it was a semi, but it appeared as if its contents were strewn all about and as if it had no front wheels. Pretty banged up for a semi truck! A little ways up, we came upon a car that, at first glance, I almost didn't recognize as a car. There was no front to it. Only a frame. It was black all over and crunched up terribly. We were quite certain that whomever was riding in that twisted wreck could not have survived. We told our children to look away as we came upon the accident. A sickening pit formed in our stomachs as we realized the severity of the accident. Our thoughts and prayers went immediately to the families of those involved in this horrible accident!
Secondly, on Saturday, my husband, children and me went out to eat with my Mother, sister and brother at a restaurant that happened to serve alcohol. There was a man there, visibly drunk. More drunk than I have ever seen anyone. He fell off his chair, and could barely walk to leave the restaurant. While walking past the large front window, he stumbled and fell into the glass, but kept walking. I was actually amazed he could even put one foot in front of the other. Some restaurant customers {including us} were concerned for this man's safety and voiced it to the restaurant servers. One of the servers there told us he only had one drink there and had come from a bar already pretty drunk. Also, that he lived not too far away and was walking home. Not exactly sure what to do to help the man, we finished our meals in near silence, with a feeling of helplessness and dread. About 5 minutes later, a woman came in the restaurant, a bit frantic. She had been a customer, seen the man leave and found him several hundred feet away. He had fallen into a briar patch and had lacerations all over his face. She said her husband didn't want to get involved and she couldn't stop the man, but that it was apparent that he needed medical attention {she was a nurse}. My saintly husband sprang up and followed the woman out. He helped calm the man down and convinced him to sit down on the curb and relax while the nurse dialed 911. My husband put his arm around him and spoke kindly to him, conveying his concern for this man's safety. I'm quite certain that man will never remember the words my huband spoke to him, but that is irrelevant. My husband was there and calmed him down enough until the ambulance and police officers came and helped the man off to the hospital.
Coming back to my confession of being a hopeful person . . . there is, always has been, and always will be, sorrow in life. Sometimes we bring sorrow upon ourselves. Sometimes, life throws sorrowful experiences our way, and sometimes we experience sorrow because of other peoples' choices. Although I have a wonderful life, I have experienced sorrow from all three of these sources. Sometimes it is beyond our own power to avoid sorrow. We can, however, choose what we will do and make out of these experiences. In the case of the awful car accident it caused me to ponder upon the fact that we, none of us, know when our last day will be. I felt incredibly sad for the families of the individuals involved in this horrific accident! It moved me to empathy for them {even though I did not personally know them}. It also made me more resolute to live each day without regret. To do the most important things, to focus on each moment.
In the case of the drunken man, I pondered for a long while this weekend: What could have brought him to such a low place in his life? What went wrong and who wasn't there for him when he needed them? Which led me to ponder whether I was always there with cheerful comforting words and actions for those who need me and my help. My husband's response to the frantic nurse also pricked my heart to feel: I may not always know what to do right away in a given situation, but I must DO something, and not assume that someone else will, while I sit by, not wanting to be bothered.
I have hope, regardless of the sorrow and hopelessness in the world. I have the greatest hope invested in spiritual beliefs. It does my heart good to see people do the right thing! I will never lose hope that I can make the world a better place by doing good.
I ascribe to the belief, so honestly put by Ghandi: "Be the change you wish to see in the world."
And Edmund Burke said that, "all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. Do not allow evil to triumph. Do not sit by and do nothing."
I have resolved to live more by my heart and conscience. I try to live this way, but have honestly resolved to be better, to listen more intently. How many times do I see a need and not fill it? Or worse, how many times do I go through life, so busy with trifling things, that I don't even see the need???
Yes, my hope lies in the ability to be better and to make the world a better place . . . never allowing the sorrow that may come upon me to hinder me from doing what is right.
Fondly, Kate

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