For last year’s Christmas holidays, we went on a spiritual retreat, leaving our three children with their grandmother for the first time. When they returned, our children, who had been with us many other times to the retreat house overlooking a beautiful lake, asked us if the lake was still there, if we had walked around in the gardens as usual, if we had eaten the delicacies and special food of the place etc., until we got to the question: “What did you talk about at the retreat?” “About hope,” was our response.
And they asked: “What is hope?” I was already starting with the vocabulary definition and adding some ideas from a catechetical lesson, when my wife Lucia promptly and simply affirmed how for her, hope is to see something or make an experience that allows us to look to the future with confidence and optimism.
Then looking for concrete and amusing examples, she said: “For example, to see that you, Margherita, start going to the bathroom alone, gives me hope.” We then asked the children what hope was for them. For little Margherita, it is “a plate of spaghetti with good sauce!” For Matteo, it is “to see his mother in a good mood, so perhaps she will let him play with his PlayStation!” While for Maddalena, it is “to read, because in the books she is reading, good always wins over evil.”
This thought made us think and gave us the chance to tell them something more than on previous days: to see so many people who are active in building a better world, people who believe in love and real relationships, gave us so much hope despite the difficulties of the present moment. Indeed, with everyone’s contribution, good can win over evil, not only in novels.
Looking back to that moment today, we see the beauty of helping each other in the family, looking and discovering in each day, here and there, seeds of hope.