This week reminded me how challenges can teach us some of life’s most valuable lessons. My lesson came to me in the form of sharp, shooting knee pain. As an avid athlete living a highly active lifestyle, confinement is a grueling trial. But, by forcing me to slow down, I gained greater insight into how hope contributes to a prosperous society.
Through my suffering, I began to see other people’s suffering from a different perspective. Slowly hobbling to the nearby CVS, the wrinkled faced men and women with eyes cast downward and lethargically huddled in the shelter of doorways caught my eye. Their dirty cardboard signs “homeless” communicated a deeper message. My temporary hardship paled at their enduring desperation.
Similarly, as I waited for the doctor to enter the room, every worst-case scenario streamed through my mind. My stomach filled with knots. And then it hit me. My experience at the 2016 March For Life suddenly became more real. I thought about the young, unmarried mothers who sit in waiting rooms, facing the fear of an unplanned pregnancy. The magnitude of my nervousness was minuscule in comparison.
In no way does my ailing knee compare to the suffering of society’s marginalized such as the homeless or women facing an unplanned pregnancy. I simply wish to convey how my trial gave me a small window into great suffering that society faces.
Most importantly, by understanding suffering, I learned the never failing power of hope. No matter where I turned, someone was always there to deliver the message of hope. Often it came through the most simple and ordinary actions. My friends never thought twice about slowing down for me amidst the hustle and bustle of the NYC sidewalks. In a manner that moms do best, my mother suggested a constructive plan of action. My housemates continuously and sincerely asked how I felt and reminded me to be patient. My doctor redirected my worries into motivation.
This experience demonstrates to me that hope empowers people to pursue the greatest good despite any challenge they face. Hope directs our attention to a higher power, God, who is supreme goodness. A prosperous society develops when all people have the opportunity to live life to the full and according to our purpose. Hope affirms the dignity of every human being, and community thrives when it embraces the contributions of all its members. We are instruments of hope for each other. Often through simple and ordinary actions, we inspire a prosperous society filled with hope.
Written by Julia Kenney, a current WYA North America Intern from Michigan, USA.