What a wonderful conversation on Doubt the Movie yesterday! My profound gratitude to the Sister Regina, Sister Connie, and Sister Mary of the Sisters of Charity of New York for joining us.
I encourage you to read through the comments and, if you haven’t already, go see the movie or read Doubt: A Parable. Feel free to continue the conversation on yesterday’s post. I’ll be checking in too.
Since we’ve had much Doubt here on A Nun’s Life, I thought perhaps we should meditate for a little bit on Hope.
“Isn’t it the moment of most profound doubt that gives birth to new certainties? Perhaps hopelessness is the very soil that nourishes human hope; perhaps one could never find sense in life without first experiencing its absurdity …”
- Vaclav Havel (playwright, writer, politician)
What is your experience of hope in the midst of doubt?
deerose January 9, 2009 at 8:39 am
Without doubt, would hope even exist? Without doubt, all would be certainty. With everything being concrete fact so to speak, would we even evolve? For change and transformation to occur, there has to be some sort of struggle, great or small. Certainty does not require this struggle.
I love Havel’s use of the word “absurdity”. In fact, I love many of the modern Czech authors. They tend to be very reflective, very deep, intense. They use a lot of paradox and symbolism. Their literature can be negative sometimes, and I don’t feel they often have a high regard for organized religion (I believe Czechs are often skeptical by nature and many were raised in the atheistic communist regime), but they are incredible writers and thinkers – very philosophical. Another author I really like is Milan Kundera. One of his books was made into a movie in the 90s. I forget the name of it. It was very good but somewhat racy/sexual at times – but for a reason, to prove a point. It wasn’t arbitrary.
Don January 9, 2009 at 8:02 am
There comes a point in any human conflict between persons, after you’ve striped away the hurt, the resentment, the anger, the blame and the denial, when you must make a choice. You can either resign yourself to a despair based in a belief that we are truly alone in this world and at best fool ourselves into thinking otherwise, or you can surrender to a faith in the existence of an infinite love.
From that may flow thoughts and then actions that can help bring about changes that may seem impossible to those looking in from the outside.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being gives way to the bearable weight of the Cross embraced in love.
deerose January 9, 2009 at 9:10 am
P.S. For any who may be interested, I believe the name of the book/movie by Kundera I mentioned above is “The Unbearable Lightness of Being.” As I remember, it was a book/movie with little hope – but worth watching if so inclined. One of his books I really liked is “The Book of Laughter and Forgetting.” dee
Susan Rose, CSJP January 9, 2009 at 11:21 am
Hope is what gets me up in the morning. It’s what powers and guides my day. It’s what frames my prayer when I go to bed. Living life fully is – I think – a declaration of hope.
A Scripture passage that really speaks to me of hope is from the prophet Habakkuk:
“For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment and will not disappoint; If it delays wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late.” (Habakkuk 2:3)
Sister Julie January 9, 2009 at 1:44 pm
Hope for me is that intangible something that drives me to believe even when the absurdity (a word I love too) of things becomes overwhelming. Hope is like that lifeline that connects me to solid ground while in the tumults of the sea — the crashing waves or unbearable stillness might still surround me, but I know that this too shall pass. Not without struggle or pain, perhaps, but it will pass.
deerose January 9, 2009 at 7:53 pm
I believe hope is a gift from God. When all else fails in our lives, and all evidence points against any positive developments transpiring, hope still exists. And God is always at our side. Isn’t this one of the key messages of our Christian faith – the sense that things will get better against all the odds?
In the literature of one of the above-mentioned authors, Milan Kundera, one rarely sees hope. This is because he views our lives as having little meaning. Is this the result of living in an atheistic society? May be. Without God, what do we really have? Scary thought.
JD January 9, 2009 at 11:00 pm
“You can either resign yourself to a despair based in a belief that we are truly alone in this world and at best fool ourselves into thinking otherwise, or you can surrender to a faith in the existence of an infinite love.”
I really like this thought by Don. I’m pessimistic and have a tendency to be hopeless when left to my own devices. But I can only be hopeless for so long (i.e. “Okay, I’m tired of this!”), and when I’m done fooling myself into thinking I’m alone, I realize the hope fueled inside me is nothing I would have engineered on my own. So three cheers for God. He’s always looking out for us.
marla January 10, 2009 at 12:38 pm
hope is god in other people.
discerninglife25 January 10, 2009 at 6:17 pm
If I may be so bold, I would say that only in the presence of God can the fruit of doubt be not only hope, but faith as well. And that only in God can the fruit of sorrow and grief be great joy. And only in God can the fruit of great sin be reconciliation. So I believe that once we have experienced the negative human emotions, we come to better know and understand the divine ones of God.
Audrat January 11, 2009 at 12:31 am
DL25, you amaze me more and more in your wisdom everytime I talk with you! I wonder, do you believe that this is why God granted us to feel doubt? Why not just give us His infinite wisdom so we never have to doubt? I wonder, if that were so, would we be able to even feel hope if we never doubt God, if we never doubt His purpose for us? Would there even be a purpose to life? Well all I can say is that God did not give us His wisdom, at least He didn’t give it to me. I do go though moments of doubt (like now) but during these times (like now) I have learned so much about myself and God. but I can’t help but wonder that all this doubting is a waste of time, it would be easier if I just knew what God had in store for me so I can do it! Oh well, either way I still love God no matter how crazy He makes me at times. But Hope is very important. It’s that light that we need. It’s what gets us though the darkest time. Times when we don’t even know why we are feeling hope, we just have hope.
discerninglife25 January 12, 2009 at 8:38 pm
Doubt – This comes from what happened in the garden of Eden. It is human. We experience doubt when we are concerned with other things beside God. In my last post, I only meant that by experiencing such human emotions we get to better know the divine one. You said that after you experience doubt, you get to know yourself better and God better. This is because you were kept from God, and you were frustrated. Then you were welcomed again by Him, and you were happy. Or in other words, “The water tastes sweeter when you are kept from drinking it for a week than when you are kept from it an hour.” No, I don’t think God wanted us to feel doubt, unless you are talking about dryness in prayer… now thats a whole ‘nother ball park!
Wisdom – Wisdom is a gift of the Spirit. Thereforth, you must know the Spirit to posess the wisdom of God. A wise teacher told me, “Wisdom is the knowledge of knowing how to use knowledge.” So why doesn’t God grant us all wisdom, so we don’t have doubt? I don’t know, but we are all apart of His Plan, and He will save us from doubt when He comes again.
Hope – Hope is a marvelous thing. It gives you joy in the darkest hour and pulls you through to the next step of you life, but I wouldn’t say its the purpose in life. I know everyone’s purpose in life varies, but this is mine which is the Great Commandment: “To love Your Lord, God, with all your heart, mind, and soul, and to love your neighbor as yourself. As for the wondering, I would try to stop. I do it so much, but it just adds worry lines. Trust God; He will take care of You.
nocode February 17, 2009 at 4:14 pm
for me…hope comes whenever i see a glimpse of kindness, of someone doing something good, something selfless. or if a child or a friend comes to you with eyes filled with trust, and you are motivated to do something and be worthy of that trust….or if i come to someone and ask for help and that someone just helps me right away despite the fact that i am someone they barely know, setting aside whatever apprehensions they have (or may not have), not even seriously considering how much of a hassle i am…then i start to think, if people can still be moved to do kindness, if kindness is still evident even if they are like small springs of water in a world that seems to be a vast desert, then you know that the Holy Spirit is alive and moving, renewing, inspiring and strengthening us. then, i suddenly have hope, despite the harsh realities of this world.
the countless and nameless lay and religious men and women who try to show God’s love and kindness through feeding the poor, assisting the unemployed find humane jobs, helping human rights victims, healing victims of abuse, helping build up communities, lobbying for fair wages and rights of workers. stories about their struggles, conviction, faith and love for God and His flock. all these give me hope.
and whenever i am plagued with hardships and problems, then i just try to remember the kindness that was inspired by the Holy Spirit in the lives of different people (some of which i have witnessed) and i tell myself to hope and have faith that in God’s own time, my heartaches will also cease, God will let His face shine upon me, and His kindness will take all the sadness, the heartaches, the emptiness, the sorrow away.