The Pathway To Hope Begins With Letting Go
It's hard to watch the news on TV. Most of us have stopped doing so, to be honest. More and more people get their news in snippets from social media, forwarded emails, or from the push notifications on their smartphones.
But any way you look at it, the news we get is usually bad. And most of us have an overwhelming sense that everything is screwed up. We live with a steady sense of foreboding almost all of the time.
In recent years writers like Steven Pinker and Hans Rosling (among others) have been making the case that we are wrong to be so pessimistic about the future and that there is ample evidence to demonstrate that things in the world are the best they've ever been.
The problem is, the statistics on drug addiction, depression, low life satisfaction, and suicide rates in the developed world are not just sobering, they're alarming.
Author Mark Manson recently wrote:
Basically, we are the safest and most prosperous humans in the history of the world, yet we are feeling more hopeless than ever before. The better things get, the more we seem to despair.Manson asserts that it's almost like the better things get, the more we realize we have to lose, and this has an adverse effect on our ability to hope.
Jesus once told his followers:
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?You see, Jesus knew that his followers would struggle to truly hope when they were preoccupied with not having enough---enough money, safety, security and the like.
And these words speak to us through the centuries, because we are no different. We have more than any other generation before us, and yet we cannot find satisfaction because we fear losing it all.
Jesus teaches us to let go of our attachments to our ideas of what constitutes enough. He teaches us to let go of our attachments to worry, to the fear of lack, the dread of losing what we have...
Instead, Jesus teaches us to focus on what truly matters: things that are good, beautiful and true. He leads us to focus on bringing God's kingdom to life here and now. His example is one of unconditional and inclusive love.
And it is this that brings hope--for you, for me and for all of us, and the whole of Creation.
May this be so in your life today and every day. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.