By Philip Suzara
Pondering… as I sit here at the edge of my mythical life pond.
One can see many things happening at the edge of life’s pond, as in any pond. Decisions are made there, life changing decisions, defining moments… to get in the pond, or not. The pond is encircled by its edges in different forms and kinds: straight, jagged, rough, rocks, pebbles, sand, soil, or mud. Very much like people. No matter the differences we have, we all belong there… around the life pond, inside, outside, at the edge, but there.
The New Year is about to pop out with lots of surprises in store for all of us, and we all stand hopeful – for everything that will come. We always look forward to a brighter year after the whole period that passed us by; some life-changing events for most, we had family and friends who didn’t make it through the year and we will be missing them, sorely. With a few of them, we had time to prepare and say our goodbyes, but for most of our friends who skipped the line and crossed to the Great Beyond, they just went their merry way - on to their journey’s last leg. I am ambiguous about this, a big part of me celebrates their respective lives and the indelible marks they have made on the lives they have touched, a part of me, which may seem selfish, is saddened by the fact that I will no longer be able to talk with them nor enjoy the presence of their company.
But such is life… a tree is born, a tree dies, and the forest, it lives on forever.
Yes, with whatever pain and fear we have, hope springs from our hearts to welcome what is about to come.
I would like to share words of hope and wisdom from our dear Pope Francis that I find very encouraging and reassuring in moments of doubt and fear.
"Dear young people, do not be afraid of making decisive choices in life. Have faith; the Lord will not abandon you!"
"From my point of view, God is the light that illuminates the darkness, even if it does not dissolve it, and a spark of divine light is within each of us."
"Although the life of a person is in a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God." "Let us pray for peace: peace in the world and in each of our hearts."
"God's love calls us to move beyond fear. We ask God for the courage to put on faith, hope and love as we go out into the world and become the word in body as well as spirit."
"Having doubts and fears is not a sin... The sin is to allow these fears to determine our responses, to limit our choices, to compromise respect and generosity, to feed hostility and rejection...
The sin is to refuse to encounter the other, the different, the neighbor, when this is in fact a privileged opportunity to encounter the Lord ... to overcome our fears so as to encounter the other, to welcome, to know and to acknowledge him or her."
"Even hope, like all good things in this world, has enemies... Hope is the push in the heart of those who leave their home, and sometimes their family and relatives - I am thinking of migrants - to find a better life, with more dignity for themselves and their loved ones...
It's also the push in the heart of those who welcome: the desire to encounter, meet, dialogue... hope is the push to share the journey,"
"This is important: to get to know people, listen, expand the circle of ideas. The world is crisscrossed by roads that come closer together and move apart, but the important thing is that they lead towards the Good."
"Openness to God makes us open towards the marginalized of this world, and gives us the courage to leave the confines of our own security and comfort to become bruised, hurting and dirty as we joyfully approach the suffering of others in a spirit of solidarity."
"Even in the developed world, the effects of unjust structures and actions are all too apparent. Our efforts must aim at restoring hope, righting wrongs, maintaining commitments, and thus promoting the well-being of individuals and of peoples."
Pope Francis’ words are all so full of faith and hope.
It is that little flicker of light in the dark; summoning our inner strength to fan that faint light in us into a bright glow, that we may share with others who are equally moving about in darkness -- that we hold hands and be together in our quest for the light of our day, our tomorrow, our future.
There are great similarities in the words of the Pope’s encouragements and those of the iconic song, Smile. Charlie Chaplin wrote the melody in 1936 for the theme of his movie ‘Modern Times”. The song was originally written as an instrumental but John Turner and Goeffrey Parsons added lyrics to it, giving it the sense of melancholy and optimism that infuses the track.
Go listen to the many wonderful versions interpreted by a variety of old and young artists and contemplate on the lyrics, go figure Pope Francis’ message of hope and how it should impact your life, our life, and our future.
“Smile though your heart is aching Smile even though it's breaking When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by If you smile through your fears and sorrow Smile and maybe tomorrow You'll see the sun come shining through for you
Light up your face with gladness Hide every trace of sadness Although a tear may be ever so near That's the time you must keep on trying Smile, what's the use of crying? You'll find that life is still worthwhile If you just smile
That's the time you must keep on trying Smile, what's the use of crying? You'll find that life is still worthwhile If you just smile Smile Just smile”
Yes, smile, and maybe tomorrow, we’ll see the sun come shining through for us.
Pondering, as I sit here at the edge of life’s pond.
Creature of God. Child of the Universe. Global Citizen. Lover of Life. Freedom Fighter. Agent of Change. Lone Wolf. Occasional Consultant for Strategic Communications.