Uinta County Herald | In search of hope in a troubled world
The holidays are known around the world to be a season of hope, joy, love and celebration. In a world torn apart by wars, genocide, the climate crisis, a lingering pandemic, starving children, racial injustice, violence and death on the streets of America, and hateful and dangerous rhetoric accepted as common practiceâ¦ I rarely find hope. I could write pages filled with atrocities seen on the evening news that give me little hope for humans on this planet. I see very few positive incidents in the evening news to confirm that this really is the season for love and hope.
I am a journalist and avid observer and reader of daily news, and I am often overwhelmed by the state of the nations and peoples of the world. As a child, my mother often called me a “worry wart”. I tend to worry and internalize the problems of the world. Retired Episcopal Priest Bob Eldan wrote in an essay: âWorry paralyzes us, undermines our joy, weighs on our hearts, and worry paralyzes us. ” So true!
Being a stubborn and persistent person, I don’t want to give in to despair, even though for many days I have no hope for this world. I decided to reflect on the little things that bring hope to my life and maybe hope for the next generation who will inherit this chaos.
I started this search for hope several months ago and reflecting on my journey, I discovered a fact that has been known for a long time: these are the small moments and experiences that are not the subject of the news. world that bring hope to our lives.
At the end of August, I attended an open house at the property in Huntsville, Utah, where the monks of Holy Trinity Abbey have lived for 70 years. I had written a story for the Herald (November 3, 2020) about the statue of Mary the Mother of Jesus which was restored by local professional art restorer Catherine “Cat” Holt and wanted to see the statue at the cemetery of the monastery.
My visit to Huntsville Monastery was inspiring.
Huntsville Monastery was founded by 32 monks who were mostly WWII veterans. In the 1960s, the monastery served 84 monks and novices who used agricultural production as a form of prayer and devotion. They were active farmers, ranchers and beekeepers who provided food for the monastery as well as products for sale. The monks became a community loved and respected by their neighbors, who were mostly members of the LDS church.
The story of the Monks is that of men emotionally torn apart by a world war who formed a community of healing, living and working together in a close relationship of love and respect with Mother Earth and all of her species. Perhaps that is why they chose Mary, the mother, as their patron saint.
In August 2017, the monastery officially closed and the five surviving but aging monks now reside in an elderly residence in Ogden, Utah, but plan to return to the monastery for their final abode where the statue of Mary will watch. on them.
Salt Lake City attorney and Huntsville resident Bill White, who had long-standing friendships with the monks, purchased the monastery property when the abbey closed to save it from development. White, in cooperation with Summit Land Conservancy and Ogden Valley Land Trust, received an $ 8.8 million grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, which will protect the 1,080 acres that housed the Cistercian Trappist monks for 70 years. White also agreed to donate a large portion of the development rights to the land so that it remains an open agricultural space.
During the Huntsville Open House, I bought Michael Patrick O’Brien’s book “Monastery Mornings: My Unusual Boyhood Among the Saints and Monks”. I mentioned to O’Brien how wonderful it was to see the statue back in his house and how happy I was to hear that the earth would be preserved.
O’Brien replied, âThis is a place that never stops giving. “
The grounds of the monastery are beautiful and seeing the statue of Mary, which the monks called “Our Lady of Confidence” watching over the more than 30 tombs of the monks buried there was inspiring. If there is a god, I lean more towards the feminine aspects, hence my love for the statue of Mary, the mother. Knowing that the land will be protected from development and that the abundant wildlife will be a home forever is a beacon of hope for me in a world devastated by climate change.
Months later when I finished reading O’Brien’s book, I was touched by his story of the monks and how they took the time to become positive father figures for a devastated boy. by divorce from his parents. I am not a religious person, although I honor the spiritual in everything. O’Brien’s story told me that while I personally do not embrace any religion, there are religious people who strive daily to put into practice the teachings of the man called Jesus.
The monks of the abbey of the Holy Trinity, according to the testimony of O’Brien, “followed their speech”. Amid all the news of the widespread sexual abuse of children by priests and leaders of religions and other well-known institutions, O’Brien’s positive experience with men within this religious institution makes shine a little glimmer of hope for redemption.
Christians are told to follow the golden rule: “Do to others what you would like them to do to you.” The heathen’s credo is, “Do whatever you want, but don’t hurt anyone and remember that whatever you do, it will come back to you three times.
If only we humans followed these beliefs, what a different world that would be. I can always hope, and more importantly, I can personally try to practice love and kindness every day. When I find myself cursing someone for some silly crime, like taking a parking spot that I was expecting, I can stop and bless them instead.
It is especially the young people of today who give me the most hope. Greta Thunberg and other young people around the world who speak out against the destruction of our planet are a beacon of hope. If only our older leaders would stop clinging to the old dong ways and join forces with the passion and foresight of the young to heal our world from the wounds of division and animosity, it would be a glimmer of light. hope for all.
There is good news every day, and I try to focus on it: science has produced a vaccine that protects us from the COVID virus; dozens of men long imprisoned on false charges and thanks to DNA science have now been released; a fair verdict for three men who murdered a man who was just jogging; Disney films which feature young heroes and heroines working with the elderly to overcome evil; and there is so much more good going on – if only we pay attention to it.
What are the other moments that give me hope? Here are some of my little things: a smile and a hug from a grandchild, a phone call or letter from a loved one, a door that is open to me when I have my arms full, set up my Christmas tree and my decorations, bake bread for my family, a good heartwarming book or movie, reunion with family and friends; a roof over my head and food on my table and so much more.
Why is hope important? Because hope leads to action, and action builds hopeâ¦ and so on. May we all focus on hope and love this holiday season!