We introduced a new understanding of hope today. We want to build a sense of hope that is a force of change that comes from a feeling of certainty and well-being within, rather than an anxious kind of hope that vaguely wishes for things to turn out well. Write about an experience you may have had with this stronger kind of hope. – Deepak Chopra (Day 6 — Feeling Hope)
I don’t think you can have a future or any type of “end product” without hope. I see hope more as a process, a living force that flows from day-to-day, hour by hour, and minute by minute. We hope for something that will come into existence in some future time. Yet the feeling we get through the act of hope occurs in the present.
It’s like living. No, it is living, which is, living in the present moment while expending energy in a real certainty that there will be answers for what we hoped for tomorrow. For instance, I hope to publish a book. Actually, I have ten books in which I hope to publish over the next several months. That’s ten hopeful wishes, so to speak. I am in the process of self-publishing, and I hope to obtain an end product sometime later this year.
My hope is that the books will be well-received and, more importantly, someone reads then. I hope that they will inspire others and reveal truths that I’ve learned through a mystical journey I started some six years ago. That’s when I retired from “regular” work, and I found my true passion in writing. I like to say that I traded in a legal career to return to a writing one, this time, not as a newspaper reporter, but a reporter on and about life!
Since September, 2009, I had hoped that I could offer as much compassion and love as the monsignor did at my Uncle Dominick funeral. Uncle Dom was the last surviving blood relative from either one of my parents’ side. He was the baby of the family, and had baby-sat me when I was sent to my grandmother’s house to avoid any harm. My mother, Dom’s half-sister, had suffered from postpartum depression, and I was shipped off to Mays Landing, NJ, from Philadelphia, PA, to prevent any danger to me and to provide the much-needed help for my frail and sickly mother.
Did someone see some hope in me? I like to think that Grandma Hagel did. Whenever someone asked me if I knew who provided me with unconditional love, I automatically think of her. Yet, I remember very little about her. I guess there was (is) a feeling about the times I had contact with her that lends itself to such an impression.
Uncle Dom was the quiet type. He served in the navy during World War II and “inherited” Grandma’s house after he got married and began raising his own children. He married one of the toughest women I have ever encountered, Aunt Frances. She was the bossy type who always seems to control every situation. And if she couldn’t control it, she found a way to influence it by getting to the guy or girl in charge!
I got hope for my spiritual path when the cleric at Uncle Dom’s funeral butchered Aunt Frances’ name. No one messed with Aunt Frances, and I took it as a sign for a drastic change in my life. I figured that I was as spiritual as that priest, and that I could prove it.
Of course, I had meditated for more than a year, having learned mindfulness meditation in a Veterans Administration clinic and at a weekly meditation session with a Zen teacher. Hope infused in me after I prayed for Uncle Dom, meditated and rose to the stranding position with the others in the church. We stood to exit the pew where we had been either seated or were kneeling. It was time to receive Holy Communion.
— Hope for us fallen Catholics —
Communion is something I can’t receive anymore. You see, I got married “outside” the church and I would have to get a dispensation from the pope or get re-married “in” the church to take on that sacrament. It is one of the worst sins the Catholic Church has imposed on its faithful, and I’m sure it has driven out — and is still keeping out — many Catholics who are good people. These are people like me who had simply met other good folks of a different religious backgrounds and agreed to accept the spouse’s choice of where to get married.
I got married in a Presbyterian Church by a Methodist minister named Michele Wright Bartlow, the sister of my soon wife-to-be, the former Wendy Wright.
I hope that someday a pope like Pope Francis will grant a blanket absolution for those of us who chose to say our marriage vows somewhere other than in a Catholic church. I’d “go back” to the church if he waved a magic wand and said all was forgiven. I would be able to receive communion again and not have to pretend like I did during the funeral for Uncle Dom.
- What I did was to fake it. I stood up in church, made my way to the center aisle, but instead of walking forward, I went backwards. Persons with an untrained eye who saw me walking backwards believed I was without a mortal sin. In the Catholic faith, you can’t receive Holy Communion with a mortal sin “on your soul.” You can if you only have venial sins, according to church doctrine which I believe has not changed since i was an altar boy in the 1960s…
So, I marched backwards and then made my way around the church, checking out some of the statues on display at various sections of the House of God. My hope was that no one would take offense, and from what I noticed, no one did. No one has ever commented about it and I guess my hope helped to create a happy ending of sorts
I became more spiritual and have not really looked back except to reflect how far along this path a sinner like me had been able to travel. See, there is hope for everybody if they seek it out. It freed me up to write and I haven’t stopped since that fateful day.
Stay tuned for more hope in tomorrow’s post. That’s when I’ll try to write a wrong, so to speak. Or just click the post at right below.)