Words of Hope: Joan of Arc Hope

I find Dad’s title, “Words of Hope,” so crucial during difficult times. I say difficult times because I feel a deep battle raging in the world — one between joy and despair, community and division, and peace and war. Every generation throughout the ages has encountered difficult times. I am reading Joan of Arc, and historians knowledgeable about that time say this was one of the most challenging times in European history— so much suffering through wanton slaughter and barbarity. These historians were writing in the 1860s. How much more suffering was to come less than 100 years later!

Joan of Arc provided a symbol of hope. She lived with tremendous courage because of her absolute trust and faith in God. Hope does this. Hope gives us the energy and strength to face what should make us cower with fear. Dad loved Joan of Arc. I would send him works of art depicting her from museums I visited in Europe. Dad thought of her courage riding into battle as a metaphor for his battle with cancer. There are so many mental battles with cancer— is this the right treatment path, did I do something wrong in my past, is this a form of punishment, is this a consequence of too much worry or poor eating or the environment or my generational line? —-All these mental stories intrude in the mind and disrupt peace. I know Dad’s vivid imagination required him to wage war and eliminate this kind of mental worry. 

Though I haven’t battled cancer, I have my own inner battles that I need hope and courage to overcome. I especially wrestle with the balance between prudence and trust. Where is the line between self-responsibility- have I done as much preparation as necessary for a difficult situation and trust— can I rest in the faith God is working all things for good? 

I often use hope as my barometer. I know I live in fear when I feel despair as my driver. I know I live by faith when I use hope as my driver. 

Hope is the energy to act with courage, wait with trust, search with fervor, or patiently endure. 

I think of the circumstances that bring us together in a community committed to Words of Hope. A community not only committed to honoring my Dad’s legacy but also to being people who live hope, speak hope, and give hope to the world. My love and peace of Christ to you and yours. 

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. – Psalm 42:11