As I was reflecting on the question, what is hope and what does it mean to me, it occurred to me that we use the word “hope” a lot, liberally, casually, and almost without thinking. For example: I hope that you have a nice day, I hope that you get a lot done, I hope that the sun comes out today, I hope that you get home safely, I hope that you feel better. The list goes on and on. However, when reflecting on the “transformative power of hope” my thoughts and understanding of “hope” moved to a deeper place, a more contemplative place, a place of understanding a bit more of “hope’s” unpredictable energy and movement in time.
We know that “Hope” can’t be understood as a theory. It’s not a linear experience. The “Transforming Power of Hope” is more a mystery, leading us somewhere but we really don’t know where or how it will all turn out in the in the end. Today, because everything in life moves so quickly, we so often hope for predictability, explanations, so we can have what we want when we want it. Unfortunately, when this happens, we “destroy most of hope’s transforming power.” Richard Rohr, The Naked Now, (2019) p15.
Today, with the pandemic and all that comes with it, there’s often feelings of hopelessness hovering just below the surface of our lives. Will the pandemic, hatred, killings, the belief that I am better than you because of the color of my skin or the country that I’m from and so very much more, that leaves us feeling powerless and hopeless, ever go away.
Standing in Awe of Hope
Let me tell you a story about a small sign of Hope. It’s a true story with a happy ending.
My two-and-a-half year-old great niece Bianca came into the house with her right hand closed.
Her mother asked, “What’s in your hand?”
Bianca said, “Worms,” and she showed her mother.
“Where did you get them?”
“In the dirt.”
“How many do you have?”
“Five.” (Really only 2.)
“What are you going to do with them?”
“Play with them.”
“Then what will you do?”
“Put them back out where they live.”
Then she went back outside, knelt down in the spot where she found the worms and put them back in the dirt, the soil.
How did she know that was the right thing to do? She and other children give us Hope. Just watch them. We’ll soon see and believe that knowing the right thing to do is within all of us from birth.
Bianca came back in the house, “Mommy the worms are home.”
She covered them with a little bit of grass to keep them warm.
“A Bag of Many Colors”
We cannot release the questions;
with every step they multiply,
they carry a wisdom
of their own.
God of mystery,
to hold the questions,
to live them,
to bless them
(Jan L. Richardson, Night Visions, p121)
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 twenty-first reflection in this series. Read all reflections here.
This reflection was written by
Dominican Sister of Hope Nadine Fodor, OP
Nadine Fodor is an educator, pastoral minister, and licensed professional counselor. She taught first, seventh, and eighth grades in New Jersey. She later served as a director of religious education, director of RCIA, pastoral associate, and an acting associate director of religious education for the Diocese of Metuchen. Sister Nadine was an instructor and an assistant professor of education in the Department of Education at Felician College. She has provided counseling for individual adults, couples and families in NJ.