Wake Up and Regain Hope

by Mark Votava

images (44)I have lived in my neighborhood in Downtown Tacoma for over twelve years now. When I first moved here I had hopes of being a blessing to this local community in all kinds of ways. As time has gone on, it seems I have lost hope. It seems I cannot readily assess what I am doing here and if anything really matters anymore.

Is community really that important in this world? Do I really believe in a deep embodiment of love, compassion, and truthfulness anymore? I think I am struggling to find my path of meaning, purpose, and authenticity.

Sometimes I think, “Everything around me doesn’t matter anymore.” I am losing hope in who I am and what I can do in the world. Does any of it really matter anyways? Drowning in a sea of depression, anxiety, and fear has made me question what I once held value in.

But this place is calling me back into a way of solidarity. Where will I go if I move on in anger, disillusionment, and fear? I am called to live right where I am. I cannot give up my hope of love, humility, vulnerability, and compassion.

I say to myself, “Wake up and see the wonder of life all around you.” Don’t move on because there is no better place for me somewhere else. This is my life right now. At this moment, there is no better time to live and embrace my own pain than now as hard as it might be.

Stay where I am and learn to express the deepest ground of my being. Let love lead me to deeper places of truth, vulnerability, and honesty. I want to be free, alive, and hopeful for the future. Let me smile on this day with gratitude, stability, and peace.

  • Getting away from the mindset of upward mobility

God is calling us to an integration of stability in everyday life together. By stability, I mean a rootedness in our local context. By stability, I mean resisting the temptation to live somewhere that is better than where we are. An integration of stability is about getting away from the American mindset of upward mobility.

  • An embodiment of stability

We are often desiring to move to the best possible neighborhoods, the best possible living conditions, the best possible career at the expense of neglecting our neighbors and making the parish secondary to everything else. But what we do not understand, is that an embodiment of stability in the place we inhabit together is how we love our neighbors. Without an integration of stability there is very little love for others, there is almost no relationship with the parish, and there is hardly any deep listening.

  • Take root in a local community. living and loving there

Marlena Graves states, “We cannot love well and be loved ourselves if we are not committed to a community…  Loving and being loved require that we become stable… We take root in a local community, living and loving there…”

  • Reconciliation, embodiment, and deep listening

Our stability will shape us constantly. A place we inhabit together is a powerful medium of liminality. We will be challenged with the relational ways of reconciliation, embodiment, and deep listening. We cannot escape this anymore. This is our calling. This is our path to following the teachings of Christ to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

What stands out to you?

51DJfJVBpBL (1)