Think You’re a Lost Cause???

Posted: April 5, 2017 in World On The Edge

I’ve sometimes felt my writing is a lost cause. Does it affect anyone the way I’d like it to? Will I ever find a publisher large enough to actually market my work? I’ve had to “dance on tables” –as one of my writer friends puts it when those of us published by small publishers (and gratefully so!) have to do most of our own marketing. We wonder who is reading our books, or if we’ve made any difference at all by using our God-given talents? We wonder if we should give up?

Except we don’t. Always believing, we’re one step away.

When I was a student at Spring Hill College in Mobile Alabama, I was taught by many wonderful Jesuits. One that I will always remember was Father Alfred Lambeau, who taught French.

He was small and wiry, had a glass eye, and a unique, sometimes biting, sense of humor. But he never thought any of his students were “lost causes.”  Father Lambeau’s method of grading papers proved that. It began at the bottom with a failing grade, “Egad!” Next up from that was “Close But No Cigar” and upwards again was “So-So,” and finally, “Lollipop!”

Each those inscriptions held hope. Each one  meant that we were at least on the right track, and with a little more effort, might finally get to “Lollipop!”

To put it into context for this blog–Life is surely like Father Lambeau’s grading system, isn’t it? Life is hard, but something–some spark–within us keeps us going, and trying, and sometimes succeeding.

What is that spark?

In one word–HOPE.

Hope makes us more human than anything else. It shows us the stars, so to speak. It draws us closer to who we are created to be. This is not to say we will achieve material success because we’re hopeful, but if we’re not, we will surely go nowhere.

Without hope, we’re spiritually dead. Hopelessness is the cause of an enormous amount of personal misery, and our hopelessness affects others. How many criminals act from a sense of hopelessness? Hopelessness often makes us feel alone and alienated from those we love. We may feel powerless, or have the sense that we are in a losing situation.

But we can get back on track, no matter what we’ve done in the past. Hope is there to grab. Just a commitment to hold to. In the words of Emily Dickinson:

Hope’ is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops—at all. 

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