"Hope and keep busy." This is the advice Marmee gave Jo as she was struggling to find her path in life. It is a truth that we do desparately need these days.
I've written about this before, but today, in this world of dark sadness and such a strong sense of defeat, it seems that we need a reminder to do just this.
Hope. The Bible says: "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12 Notice that it says "joyful." I think of an expectant couple. They have hope they will have a healthy, happy child. They are joyful in that hope. They carefully select every item for their new child's nursery. Weeks are spent researching names and debating how it sounds. Dreams of what their child will look like, act like, become, fill the parents' nights and days. Hope. To me, it is like faith: the substance of things hoped (expected, anticipated, wished, longed) for.
Keep busy. This verse is so inspiring: "All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty." Proverbs 14:22-23. If we are worried or frustrated, the best thing we can do is get our hands busy. Think of it. If we are only talking, talking, talking about our problems or worries we are standing still. We are keeping them alive by continuing to relive them, confirming their power in our life. If we, on the other hand, put our hands to work, we are no longer immobile. Rather, we are finding something productive to do. We are filling our hands with now and not then. I have a friend who tells the story of how her family did her wrong every single time we talk. I can recite her story with her; it never varies. My friend is angry, frustrated, and hurt. I understand that. Who wouldn't be? But, by holding onto the past, she is only filling her hands with things that are dead, done, over. If she could just let go, she could fill her hands with the now and let go of and heal from the hurt. I'd love to tell her this, but she doesn't stop talking long enough for me to do so!
These are dark days, my friends. There is so much pain, hurt, loss, and unhappiness everywhere we turn. But, instead of staying tuned to CNN or Fox News, turn off the TV. Pick up a good book, your knitting needles, sewing needle, vacuum cleaner, or an empty box to fill with things you do not need or wonder why you bought them. Quit letting the world fill your mind and heart with worry. You make a difference in your corner of the world. As Winston Churchill said, "Never give up!"