Virtue of the Week: Hope

One StarfishONE STARFISH

A vacationing businessman was walking along a beach when he saw a young boy. Along the shore were many starfish that had been washed up by the tide and were sure to die before the tide returned. The boy walked slowly along the shore and occasionally reached down and tossed the beached starfish back into the ocean. The businessman, hoping to teach the boy a little lesson in common sense and futility, walked up to the boy and said, “I have been watching what you are doing, son. You have a good heart, and I know you mean well, but do you realize how many beaches there are around here and how many starfish are dying on every beach every day. Surely such an industrious and kind hearted boy such as yourself could find something better to do with your time. Do you really think that what you are doing is going to make a difference?” “ It’s hopeless, can’t you see that?” The boy looked up at the man, and then he looked down at a starfish by his feet. He picked up the starfish, and as he gently tossed it back into the ocean, he said, “It makes a difference to this one”.


What does hope do for mankind?

  • Hope shines brightest when the hour is darkest.
  • Hope motivates when discouragement comes.
  • Hope energizes when the body is tired.
  • Hope sweetens when the bitterness bites.
  • Hope sings when all melodies are gone.
  • Hope believes when the evidence is eliminated.
  • Hope listens for answers when no one is talking.
  • Hope climbs over obstacles when no one is helping.
  • Hope endures hardship when no one is caring.
  • Hope smiles confidently when no one is laughing.
  • Hope reaches for answers when no one is asking.
  • Hope presses toward victory when no one is encouraging.
  • Hope dares to give when no one is sharing.
  • Hope brings the victory when no one is winning.

FROGS

A group of frogs was traveling through the woods, and two of them fell into a deep pit. All the other frogs gathered around the pit. When they saw how deep the pit was, they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead. The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump out of the pit with all of their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that they were as good as dead. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He fell down and died. The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out. When he got out, the other frogs said, “Did you not hear us?” The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.

Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.Anne Lamott

HOPE

Write it on your heart
that every day is the best day in the year.
He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day
who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.

Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in.
Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with your old nonsense.

This new day is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on the yesterdays.Ralph Waldo Emerson

KEEP YOUR FORK, THE BEST IS YET TO COME

There was a woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and was given 3 months to live. As she began getting her things ‘in order’, she called her pastor and asked for him to come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she wanted read, and what dress she wanted to be buried in. She also requested to be buried with her favorite Bible in her left hand. Everything was in order and as the pastor was preparing to leave, the woman suddenly remembered one final request that was very important to her. “Please Pastor, just one more thing,” she said excitedly. “Sure, what is it?” came the pastor’s reply. “This is very important to me,” the woman continued … “I want to be buried holding a fork in my right hand.” The pastor gazed at the woman, at a loss for words. “That surprises you, doesn’t it?” the woman asked. The pastor replied “Well to be quite honest, I am puzzled by the request”. The woman explained. “You see, Pastor, in all my years of attending church socials and potluck dinners, I remember that when the dishes were being cleared after the main course, someone would inevitably lean over to me and say, ‘Keep your fork’ … it was my favorite part of the meal because I knew that something better was coming, like velvety chocolate cake or deep dish apple pie. Something wonderful to end the meal!” The pastor listened intently and a smile came upon his face. The woman continued, “So, I just want people to see me there with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder … ‘What’s with the fork’… then I want you to tell them: “Keep your Fork … the best is yet to come”. The pastor’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the woman good-bye. He knew that this would be one of the last times that he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the woman had a better grasp of Heaven than he did. She knew and trusted that the best was yet to come. At the funeral, every one that walked by the woman’s casket saw her wearing a beautiful dress with her favorite Bible held in her left hand and a fork held in her right hand. Over and over the pastor heard people ask the question, “Why is she holding a fork?” and his smile began to get larger and brighter each time. During his message, the pastor told the people about the conversation that he had with the woman shortly before she died. He explained the fork and what it symbolized to her. The Pastor told everyone how he could not stop thinking about the fork and how he hoped that they would not be able to stop thinking about it either. So the next time you reach for your fork, let it remind you, oh so gently, not to give up hope because the that the best is yet to come.


Where’s the Pony

There were once two identical twins. They were alike in every way but one. One was a hope-filled optimist who only ever saw the bright side of life. The other was a dark pessimist, who only ever saw the down side in every situation. The parents were so worried about the extremes of optimism and pessimism in their boys they took them to the Doctor. He suggested a plan. “On their next birthday give the pessimist a shiny new bike, but give the optimist only a pile of manure.” It seemed a fairly extreme thing to do. After all the parents had always treated heir boys equally. But in this instance they decided to try to Doctor’s advice. So when the twins birthday came round they gave the pessimist the most expensive, top of the range, racing bike a child has ever owned. When he saw the bike his first words were, “I’ll probably crash and break my leg.” To the optimist they gave a carefully wrapped box of manure. He opened it, looked puzzled for a moment, then ran outside screaming, “You can’t fool me! Where there’s this much manure, there’s just gotta be a pony around here somewhere!”


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