By Ann Perrott
Each week, when a candle is lit on the Advent wreath, I am reminded that Jesus is the ‘light of the world.’ In between those Advent Sundays part of my focus turns to my work and life as I know it. And, of course there is a return to reports of war, hunger, homelessness, prison conditions and every other bad thing that is going on in the world. I can easily feel exhausted with all of it. Why does hope feel so out of reach to me these days? I have always been an optimist—constantly looking at the glass half full, no matter what the world’s condition. And even though this Advent season brings a personal grief to my family, I feel overwhelmingly bogged down with hopelessness lately that is evident in almost every corner of the world.
I have come to understand (after reading a lot of Richard Rohr), that what I need to do is to let go of the “self,” the ego that weighs me down. My own world view is skewed. I think to myself, “Why isn’t something being done in this country or that one? Don’t we have to fix this now before too many thousands more people are killed or hurt? How many wars can the world take at one time, how many horrible dictators? So much devastation and I cannot do a thing about it. I hope God knows how I feel about that situation in the Philippines.” I feel powerless, and I believe it is because I take God out of the equation and replace it with Ann. When I do that, darkness can be like a canvas in my life, covering up the light I may be missing.
Then there is the understanding I have that darkness is a part of life. There are a lot of wonderful things happening in the world—even all around me. I have to have better eyes to see and leave the world’s problems to God.