Image c/o Kerry O’Shea Gorgone
In this time of quiet, social distancing, and isolation in the cocoon of my living space, I wondered what am I spinning around myself? Is it fear . . . disbelief . . . vulnerability to the reality of our natural journey? Am I called to surrender to my own natural journey? This call happened to me in September 2001. As the country was grappling with the disbelief, pain, and loss of 9-11, I was having my own 9-11. I was diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer. The choice was not to look to the future in hope, but to live out of hope in the NOW moment. It seems to me that call is the same today.
The mystery of an unseen viral particle, ultimately destructive in some, interrupting our ability to be whole either for a time on this earth or leading to wholeness forever, calls me to ask: What is the big picture here? What is God’s big picture? How is mine so limiting? Where is Hope today and everyday? For me, the transformative power of Hope is in the NOW . . . not in tomorrow or some distant future but in the present moment. Richard Rohr so eloquently writes, “When we surrender to our own natural journey, we find authentic hope, hope that is not identified with outcomes or goals.” To choose hope is to choose life regardless of the outcome. Each day we are called to live the reality of the Paschal Mystery — life, death and transformation into Hope — Resurrection!
What is God asking me to let go of or live into in this uncertain time in the life of all humanity? I don’t have the answer except I am convinced that this container, full of grace, mystery, Hope and Presence, is the NOW where I am called to be. One night while watching the news, I was struck by a sign posted on a fence in New York City: HOPE IS NOT CANCELLED!
A litany of hope signs flooded my being:
Hope is the ability to hear and notice the birds singing each morning as I walk through my geographic ecosystem.
Hope is the magnificence and faithfulness of the sunrises and sunsets.
Hope is the invitation of a neighbor to share a meal.
Hope is watching a young woman be the first in a clinical trial to receive a coronovirus vaccine.
Hope is watching people in Italy and around the world serenade each other in song from their balconies as they remain in quarantine.
Hope is our front-line medical heroes always stepping forward to care for others . . . to care for us.
Hope is offering food to those most in need during this crisis.
Hope is the gift of technology to help us connect with each other.
Hope is human creativity born out of challenges.
Hope is the mask that’s worn to protect others.
Hope is a ventilator delivering life-saving oxygen.
Hope is the delivery person . . . diverse people maintaining our food supply . .farmers and harvesters.
Hope is the gift of diversity, interconnectedness, interdependence, and communion.
Don’t miss it . . .
HOPE IS NOT CANCELLED!
At 3 pm on July 20, 1995 the Dominican Sisters of Hope were founded. On July 20, 2019, we began our 25th year since our founding. We declare a YEAR OF HOPE! In celebration, we will share a reflection on the 20th of every month. This is the tenth reflection in this series. Read all reflections here.
This reflection was written by
Dominican Sister of Hope Eileen Hollen, OP
Sister Eileen taught at Saint Catherine of Siena School in and Nazareth Academy, both in Philadelphia. After completion of studies for her nursing degree, she worked as a nurse in Philadelphia. Sister has ministered to HIV patients as an adult health nurse practitioner at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently a Spiritual Director in the Hudson Valley area.