Agatha Said, pt. 6

Happy Agatha Day! We have made it through March, although it sure seemed to last forever. I thought about skipping a quote this month, but then I remembered that Agatha had some things to say about the state of the world that are perfect for what we’re all going through right now. It’s a longer quote, but it’s absolutely worth a read.

Agatha Said:

“There is at least the dawn, I believe, of a kind of good will. We mind when we hear of earthquakes, of spectacular disasters to the human race. We want to help. That is a real achievement; which I think must lead somewhere. Not quickly — nothing happens quickly — but at any rate we can hope. I think sometimes we do not appreciate that second virtue which we mention so seldom in the trilogy — faith, hope and charity. Faith we have had, shall we say, almost too much of — faith can make you bitter, hard, unforgiving; you can abuse faith. Love we cannot but help knowing in our own hearts is the essential. But how often do we forget that there is hope as well, and that we seldom think about hope? We are ready to despair too soon, we are ready to say, ‘What’s the good of doing anything?’ Hope is the virtue we should cultivate most in this present day and age.”

Context: This paragraph follows Agatha’s musings about life after WWII. Having lived through both world wars, serving as a nursing assistant and then a pharmacy assistant in the first, and returning to work again in a pharmacy during the second, she saw a lot of tragedy and pain. To her, it seems war is pointless. What’s the purpose of winning one war if another is bound to follow? And yet, in spite of the things she has seen, she’s hopeful—hopeful that society is improving, that the future will be brighter than the past.

Why I Chose It: I think it’s a particularly insightful observation. And I agree with what Agatha says—so much attention is given to faith and love. People cling to faith and adore love, but much less consideration is given to hope. Often we look at hopeful people as being unrealistic or out of touch. But it takes great strength to be hopeful, especially in the face of tragedy. And the pain we feel for the suffering of others means we are connected, we care even though we may not know them. To feel that pain or fear and still hope—that is pure and beautiful strength. Cultivate hope, my friends. It’s more powerful than you think.

Dear You: Raise your voice. Or don’t.

I’ll be honest: motivational/inspirational quotes make my eyes roll back so far I can practically see my brain. But I do appreciate authentic encouragement. And in this world, in this current atmosphere, there’s a lot of negativity and frustration. If you’re craving a moment of honest encouragement, this is to you, from me.

Dear You,

Holy potatoes, there’s a lot of yelling these days, isn’t there? People are angry—some understandably frustrated, some just filled with hate. They’re yelling at people for what they do and what they don’t do, for speaking up and for staying silent. And in the midst of all that noise and chaos, it can be difficult to figure out your place in a world of a thousand loud opinions, all of them drowning out your own thoughts.

But you do have a place, a purpose. There’s a space in this intense, noisy world only you can fill, a contribution only you, with your unique mix of skills, can offer. Maybe you don’t know yet what that contribution could be or even what those skills are. Whether you’re fifteen or fifty, there’s no shame in still trying to figure things out.

It’s okay if you don’t wage wars on Twitter. And there’s great beauty in not sharing long Facebook posts about your opinions. But if you feel compelled to address an issue close to you, that’s awesome too. It’s your choice. It belongs to you and no one else.

Your worth is not measured by how much you engage or disengage. The strength of your voice is not dependent on how loudly you can yell but by the ideas you express and the methods you choose for sharing. Sometimes a whisper at the right moment can be more powerful than a hundred people screaming. Sometimes the greatest impact you can make is not by influencing crowds but by investing in one person.

But you can’t know your purpose without knowing who you are. And you can’t know who you are until you believe that you matter.

You. Matter.

Your life, the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, is an incredible opportunity that was handed to you. You didn’t ask for or earn your existence, but here you are. You have changed the world simply by existing. How you make an impact beyond that, well, it’s up to you.

And that is a wonderful thing.