Where there is hope, no darkness can linger. Most people encounter struggle at some point in their life. Even the most seemingly impossible issues that befall a person can be overcome if they believe they havehope. Hope is the light that shines through the darkness like a beacon of light from a lighthouse amid a dark and stormy night. The beacon of light in our times of need becomes a beacon of hope.
My fourth grade teacher, Mr. Michael Marshall, who remains my favorite teacher to this very day, had us enter a contest for Catholic Schools week. We were to create a poster using construction paper with the finished product being an 8 ½ X 11 work depicting the phrase “A Beacon of Hope.” It’s amazing how the projects you work on end up preparing you for life. When I was in the fourth grade, in the early 1980’s, there was no Internet, no Google, etc. We had dictionaries, encyclopedias with very few pictures and a library on the other end of town. I had no idea what a beacon was. I had no idea what a lighthouse was. And I had little understanding of what hope was. Let alone the fact that my teacher was asking me to combine three things into one concept. I ended up researching and finding a picture of a lighthouse, which only brought more questions because I lived in the heart of the hood and had no access to seeing storms brew on a shore or truly understanding why and how lighthouses work. Mr. Marshall told me that lighthouses were like headlights on a car. At night, when you cannot see the road to know if you are on the road or in the correct lane on the road, the headlights are turned on and guide you down the road. He further explained that the headlights by themselves do not get you down the road, but they do light the way. He went on to explain that a lighthouse, like hope, is more powerful than headlights because they help ships see what is all around them. I took third place in that city-wide contest, but I earned a first-place lesson. Mr. Marshall’s projects still positively impact me to this very day.
In my adulthood, this concept of hope has become increasingly more important. There are many challenges that we face as adults: Will I still have a job? Will my skills keep me competitive as the younger, speedier generation enters the workforce? How will my family recover from events that tear us apart? When do I get to choose my own happiness and still balance the needs of others? How will I recover from a major setback? The list of questions grows as time continues. Sometimes the answers come to us quickly and plainly. Other times it seems we are so overwhelmed that we wouldn’t believe we had the answer even if it walked up and introduced itself. The common factor in people being able to come out of their own proverbial darkness is hope. Many people who encounter deep depressions find themselves in despair. Despair is void of hope. Hope is that beacon, that glimmer that gets you to the next minute, the next hour, the next day. Hope puts you in micro-situations that get you back on your feet and back in the game. Hope comes from that force deep within your soul that has the will to survive. Hope comes from people who are perfectly placed in your life at the right time and the right place to help you get to next, whatever next may be. Hope gives you gumption. Hope gives you fortitude. It even gives you chutzpah. Hope helps you embrace your tears and your fears. Hope helps you make accomplishments little by little, even if you aren’t sure what you’re accomplishing. If you are struggling with something right now, hold on to hope. Open your heart and mind. You don’t have to look for it. It’s all around you. Remember to do what you can do and God will do what you cannot do. Sometimes you need a beacon of hope. Sometimes you are the beacon of hope. Believe!