One of the hardships of serving in a one-year program comes when you find yourself living with one foot out of the door. In November, I sat in Starbucks writing application essays and contacting old mentors for recommendation letters. Hardly aware of the names of streets around me or how to properly set our home’s heat timer, I was preparing to leave. In a state of life where the future is unknown, the speedy nature of time gives me little opportunity to pause and to hope.
To hope inspires a feeling of expectation, of desire, and a feeling of trust. Trust requires an opening of self and a sacrificing of certainty. Something Emma does not do well. I love list making, calendar reviewing, and triple checking. Control provides little opportunity to assign trust to another, to give trust to God and therefore hope for something through Him. In this ministry and in this transition of life outside of college, what do I hope for? Trying to balance a life of perspective and humility in my future, the task of hoping for something needs to turn towards God. We are called to hope in the Our Father each Mass, “In your mercy keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.”
In Advent, I was allowed a chance to wait in this joyful hope. As we sang, “Wait for the Lord” each Sunday, the season reminded me of the beauty in expectation and the necessity to hand my trust over to God. My worries and anxiety needed to rest in God’s hands, in the outstretched arms of the baby in the crib. The world gives us many reasons to worry, to be anxious, to doubt. God gives us the Eucharist in order to be reminded of hope, and in order to see our lives anew with this hope.
If you are privileged to have many visitors, you perhaps, like me, may often find yourself waiting in the Arrivals terminal at an airport. In December, much like the opening scene of “Love Actually”, Terminal 2 of Dublin airport was full of people waiting in joyful hope. Reunions of moms with their sons, grandparents with their grandchildren, and friends with study abroaders left my eyes weepy. These reunions were such an authentic and truly raw demonstration of hope, of what it means to wait in this joyful hope.
One family in particular was holding a sign reading, “Welcome Home, Mom”. Two daughters, one son, and a husband grasped this sign and draped it over the barrier, waiting. As they saw their mother and wife, their faces beamed. They yelled and ran towards her, showering her with hugs. The children wiped tears away as the parents embraced. I wanted to know this family’s story. Perhaps the mom was gone for a week. Perhaps the children, in her absence, didn’t always clean their room. I didn’t need to know the whole story to recognize the beauty of this scene. Whatever the case was, in this moment, love was present and hope was fulfilled.
We live as sinners, and yet are not denied the ability to receive God love and to live in hope for this love each moment. We, like this family and those waiting in Terminal 2, wait in joyful hope for our God. Each Mass, opportunity for Reconciliation, and moment of prayer, we have the opportunity to run into the arms of Christ and receive His embrace.