A gathering of hope

By Rosie Moore

I recently received a little book written by Helen Hayes called, “A Gathering Of Hope.” We older ones remember Helen I’m sure, but, for the younger ones let me explain that she was a famous actress, born in 1900, died in 1993 of congestive heart failure. A star of many movies, such as “A Farewell To Arms,” “Stage Door Canteen,” and “Airport,” her career spanned over eighty years. She received many awards from her work in theatre, movies and television. If you have a computer, Google her and you will be amazed at what she accomplished during her lifetime.

In her book she recites many poems, psalms, and a few interesting paragraphs about her own life. Here is a paragraph which meant a lot to me as I read it:

I am old now and I’m going to die. And yet, I am living in a time that puts a premium on youth, a time so self-conscious about becoming old and dying that it will not even allow use of the proper words. We have all sorts of euphemisms for  aging: the sunset years, the autumn of one’s life, the golden years. When it comes to the real issue, there are more: he passed away, she has left for the eternal spring, they’ve joined the blessed flock.

To paraphrase the Bible, where is the sting in the fact that I will someday die? Rather, I would tend to agree with Thomas Jefferson, who once said, “My only fear is that I may live too long.”

However, the book is not just about dying, it’s about celebrating life as long as we have it. That gathering of hope is prevalent in her book. She also said, “with age comes the tendency to summon up the people, places, and events of days gone by. But that tendency is far from being melancholy. Thoughts of good times spent, combined with the hope of a new life in the future, are very joyous!”

One of the best quotations in her book is also one of my favorites. Written by St. Francis of Assisi.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love,

Where there is injury, pardon,

Where there is doubt, faith,

Where there is despair, hope,

Where there is darkness, light,

Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,

Grant that I may not so much seek

To be consoled as to console,

To be understood as to understand,

To be loved as to love.

for it is in giving that we receive,

It is in pardoning that we  are pardoned,

And it is in dying

That we are born to eternal life.

Written way back in the 12th century, these words can certainly be ascribed to our lives today.

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