“There is a time in late September when the leaves are still green, and the days are still warm, but somehow you know that it is all about to end, as if summer was holding its breath, and when it lets it out again, it will be autumn.”
Cooler air and golden leaves encourage us to welcome September, the month that welcomes autumn. Students return to school, and parents adjust to new schedules for extracurricular activities. Gardeners reap their harvest and tidy up their garden beds.
This September there will be a federal election. Organizations and committees resume meetings and staging events. Will that be a reality this year, or has COVID forced other plans? Will September mark an end to the horrific wildfires? September has us anxious and hopeful.
The hot, hot days of July and August have given way to cooler temperatures and occasional rain. We can only hope that the rain is falling where it will be most effective: right on the wildfires.
It has been a terrible fire season again, as it was in 2017. Our condolences to all who have lost properties. Our hope is that there won’t be a similar experience next summer.
I came across an article in Messenger of Saint Anthony magazine titled “Giving Hope”, written by Victor M. Parachin. As I read it I was reminded how often we hear “I hope…” I hope it rains. I hope the weather turns cool. I hope the fires stop. I hope I can do…. I hope I can go….. I hope I get the job. I hope I win.
Parachin writes “Hope is a desire for things to change for the better, and to want that better situation very much; it is the very best gift we can give to others.”
Whenever a person experiences a setback, crisis, or catastrophe, feelings of being emotionally overwhelmed and hopeless rapidly emerge. More than ever in their lives, people facing major challenges need emergency responders, individuals who come bringing with them the gift of hope.
British writer Samuel Johnson noted that “Hope is necessary in every condition. The miseries of poverty, sickness and captivity would, without this comfort, be insupportable.”
How can we offer the gift of hope to others? Be mindful of this Biblical wisdom from 1 Peter 3–8: “Be sympathetic…be compassionate and humble.” When someone has been hit hard by one of life’s blows, be there if you can, without an agenda. Arrive with a completely open heart, open mind, and open spirit, ready to do whatever needs to be done. Be willing to ask what you can do, and be willing and ready to do it.
Often when one is in crisis, negative emotions and negative thinking quickly surface. Try to balance the negative with the positive, the hopeless with the hopeful. Help the person struggling to re-frame their attitude so that they can expect the best, not the worst.
Consider sharing helpful scripture with an individual who is engaged in an emotional and spiritual life battle.
Offer encouragement. Try to remember that you might be the only person who can restore joy and generate hope in that person’s life. Be the voice that tells a discouraged one “You can do this” or “I believe in you.”
Help your friend focus on what is good and right. When we are in crisis mode, it’s easy and natural to see only what’s wrong. Maybe you can be the one to gently help shift the individual’s gaze to see what’s right and what’s working for them, rather than against him or her. Try asking “What good thing happened to you this week?” or “What parts of your life are good?” By asking these kinds of questions, you can help summon up the positives which are easily overlooked.
We very much hope that Marion Nelson, a good friend of Clinton seniors, will make a good and speedy recovery from injuries she suffered in a serious fall. Get well soon, Marion!
All being well within the COVID-19 restrictions, Clinton Seniors’ Association members will gather on Sept. 16 in the Clinton Seniors’ Centre, 217 Smith Avenue, for a meeting following a potluck lunch. The telephone committee will advise if these plans change. Currently, government mandates state that all residents in the Interior Health region must wear masks, observe and practice social distancing, and use hand sanitizer as required.
To all the seniors in Clinton, give serious thought to moving in to the new affordable supportive housing, Clinton Creek Estates, when it opens this fall. The facility has twenty apartments and they will be filled, first with people from Clinton and then others from outside the community. If you think you’ll leave your decision to move until spring there may not be a vacancy. Call me at (250) 459-0028 if you want to discuss the situation or see the complex the next time a tour is arranged.
Have you noticed the new steps at the front of the Clinton Seniors’ Centre? Thanks to Chuck Dougherty for the building and installation. A sidewalk from the steps to the gate will complete the project.
Happy Birthday to Heather Henri (Sept. 10) and Irene McDonald (Sept. 27).
“It’s paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone.”