There is no word or sound, no voice is heard, yet their message reaches to all the ends of the world. (Psalm 19: 4)
In my ministry of teaching young immigrant children the language of this country, I have learned that words are not always necessary, especially in the beginning. Through the use of gestures, pictures, facial expressions and movements, a word or message can be communicated. And when there is understanding of that word or message, you can see the eyes of the children light up with joy, excitement and wow! Children smile with the realization that yes, they can and will learn this new language. They are given a sense of hope for their future in this new land.
Emily Dickinson writes about hope:
“Hope” is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without words
And never stops—at all.
The message of hope is given not so much with words or voice, but in the opening of our hearts and reaching out to others. We can give hope by simply being present to another with compassion and care; a smile, a wink, a gentle touch, an understanding nod, a cup of tea. A painting of a flower blooming in the crack of a sidewalk, a bouquet of flowers handed to someone through prison bars, or the ever-faithful sunrise each day can also speak of hope. It is a hope that new beginnings are possible, a hope that strength and courage will be given for whatever the day will bring. And not a word needs to be spoken.
And so, perhaps a question that we can ask ourselves is, how can we each become a compassionate, quiet, hopeful presence for those we will meet this day?
Sr. Jane Gegg, ASC