1237. Hope is some extraordinary spiritual grace that God gives us to control our fears, not to oust them. ~Vincent McNabb

What is Hope? a star that gleaming
O’er the future’s troubled sky,
Struggles, tremulously beaming,
To reveal what there may lie.
~R.A.P., “Hope,” in 
Southern Literary Messenger,
December 1840

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In one of my posts today appear the following lines: “Deep at the center of your being is an infinite well of gratitude. Allow this gratitude to fill your heart, your body, your mind, your consciousness, your very being. This gratitude will radiate out from you in all directions, touching everything in your world, and return to you as more to be grateful for.” And I am living proof that this is absolute truth. I’ve mentioned in some of my early blogs that after my father’s death when I was 18, my faith journey was derailed for quite some time. And for years following that things happened that drove me to become very cynical about life. What I didn’t realize was that what’s inside our hearts and minds becomes evident as well in our faces and our demeanor, and bitter cynicism does not make one pretty or welcoming. About 20 years ago after I finally reconnected with the Lord, slowly but surely gratitude began to swell inside me despite the fact that I still walked physically painful and trying paths. Then after surviving a stroke with negligible, residual effects nearly 4 years ago, my gratitude took another huge leap so much so that it is as it says above “gratitude is radiating out in all directions touching everything in my world.” One of the ways it has become blatantly obvious is the way strangers, people I run into in my day to day doings and goings, respond and interact with me. It’s as if we become friends almost instantly. For example, about month ago we went to a new restaurant to eat, and a young girl of a different skin color, brought us our food and though I can’t remember now why something happened that made us both laugh. As a result when we left that day, she warmly walked after us to wish us a good day. Then the next week when we went in she brought us our food again and engaged us in a brief conversation as though we were friends who’d known each other a long time. As we left again there was a warm good-bye and well wishes. On week number three, a different waiter brought us our food, but soon afterwards she stopped by our table to say hello, tell us she was sorry she didn’t get to bring us our food, and then we chatted a few minutes. That day on the way out the door which had been broken, she made a point of coming to tell us to be careful and watch out for the broken glass. This brings us to yesterday when we ate there again (yes, we really like their food), again a different waiter brought our food, but shortly afterward here she came to give me a hug, ask us how things were going, and so on. So what’s the point of my story about this? With all the black lives matter stuff that has stirred up racial unrest again, it has restored my hope that we can all learn to get along with one another. However, it does begin with each and everyone of us and our willingness to look at people through the eyes of our hearts and not through the judgmentally learned eyes on our faces. Okay, now here’s one last thing, my blog has reached 70% of the world’s countries, and so I have garnered lots of followers of different ethnicities and cultures, all of whom have proven to be lovely people with a willingness to accept others different from themselves as well as engage in pleasant exchanges with them.

One of my favorite people in the world is Audrey Hepburn, and so I want to share some things she had to say along similar lines:

I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most. To laugh cures a multitudes of ills.
I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls.
I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.
Forgive quickly. Kiss slowly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that made you smile.
For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others. For beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness, and for poise, walk in the knowledge that you are never alone.

When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it; the light of my face was precious to them. ~Job 29:24  ✝

**Image via the Internet