Showing Up With Hope


6 Comments

May 12  

This time of reflective waiting during the nine days between Ascension and Pentecost is one that has often sparked my creative imagination as I reflect on how the disciples must have felt after they saw the Lord going up into heaven. Clinging to his promise to send the Holy Spirit after the bewildering Ascension of the Lord, these men did not really understand what was happening but continued to show up and pray together, waiting for the Advocate to come. They trusted in his word. They were faithful.

Thinking about the fidelity of the confused disciples who kept showing up during this novena between Ascension and Pentecost, I realized that “just showing up” has been a frequent phrase on my lips lately. It is a quippy yet truthful response to the inquiry, “How are you doing today?” to which I usually smile and say, “I showed up.”  

Sometimes I do this with a shrug, as if to say, “What else is there?” Sometimes I say it with so much pride that I’m looking for high fives. I need encouragement! Let’s be honest; this life is hard and showing up is most of the battle. The vocation of a mother to give unceasingly, work tirelessly, and sacrifice greatly for her children is exhausting and nearly never-ending! While we all want to do this work at our “Pinterest-mom idealistic best,” sometimes the best we can do is to just show up—this is especially true for those of us in “survival mode.” This exhausting space, where it seems like even the necessities are only accomplished with great trial, ironically, can often be brought on by the very demands of motherhood. I know survival mode well as a widowed mama of five children, but I have recently had a shift of perspective as time and grace have soothed my heart. I find I am often “just showing up” with a joyful anticipation of hope. I think this is what the apostles, during the liminal time between Ascension and Pentecost, were doing as well—they were waiting, praying, daily showing up, and full of hope.

St. Paul says in the second reading today, May the eyes of your heart be enlightened, that you may know the hope which belongs to his call . . . These words from Saint Paul remind us to have hearts that claim the joy of the Resurrection. We must claim this truth as our own, trusting in his word, that it be the source of our strength to fulfill our vocation, assisted by the sacramental life of the Church. 

Those of us in survival mode may feel quite like the apostles did, who did not understand what the Lord was doing when he was taken up into heaven before their eyes. We may feel alone, exhausted, and confused, but like the apostles, we are called to remain steadfast. May this time of preparation between Ascension and Pentecost come to renew our hope while we faithfully continue to show up, waiting for the Holy Spirit’s sweet refreshment. He is coming and he makes all things new!

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  • Anne, as a widowed mother of 5, I’d say your showing up and remaining steadfast is nothing short of apostolic. May God grant you abundant grace and fulfill every need of yours and of your children.

    • thank you for your sweet encouragement and prayers, Kathryn! Apostolic is not a word that I would use to describe myself – seems like something “apostolic” would be so much more grandiose than just simply remaining steadfast and continuing to show up. But you are right! it IS apostolic! thank you for naming it and speaking this truth!

  • Anne, thank you for your reflection. I’m a widow as well, of two girls. What you described fits me most days- alone. exhausted, and confused. Sometimes I lose that expectancy that comes from knowing that God is always acting and is always loving. Your thoughts give me something to pray over and for- a renewal of hope in my life, especially as we await the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Thank you again!

  • I see your survival mode in operation every day and it expands thru your voice to help me and others beyond your children . I love you Anne ❤️ Dad

    • Sometimes I feel like I am the accidental witness to Christ – not always aware of what effect my life or service has on others. It is sweet to hear this encouragement. How we build one another up reminds me of this quote of St. Paul:

      2 Corinthians 1:3-5
      Praised be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all consolation! He comforts us in all our afflictions and thus enables us to comfort those who are in trouble, with the same consolation we have received from him. As we have shared much in the sufferings of Christ, so through Christ do we share abundantly in his consolation.

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