Blessings for 2022 Inspired by Desmond Tutu

Blessings for 2022 Inspired by Desmond Tutu

Well, here we are at the beginning of another New Year! I looked for an image that would symbolize this particular unprecedented transition but couldn’t find anything quite right. Then I remembered this quote by Desmond Tutu which I used in a class I facilitated about hope last year. And who better to feature than the brilliant, courageous, joyful, and sadly, late Archbishop Desmond Tutu?

Hope is being able to see the light despite all the darkness.

– Desmond Tutu

As many of you probably did also, I saw Desmond Tutu as part of the Bryan Series many years ago. When he walked out onto the stage, I felt a shift in the auditorium. Despite his small stature, from his huge and generous heart radiated an energy which I can best describe as expansive and up-lifting. I knew I was in the presence of one who embodied truth, vision and hope.

In light of the dark years we’ve recently endured, many would say that they refuse to get their hopes up as we embark on another uncertain 12 months. Some would say I’m being naive to be even talking about hope (I’ve been called that my whole life, and it’s never stopped me from being hopeful).

So, what is hope anyway? It’s not the assurance of wonderful things but is a light which illuminates the path that stretches out ahead through parts unknown. Aren’t we all so tempted to walk the path with a guarded heart? Sure, but we can also breathe, drop our shoulders, surround our heart with courage and embark into the unknown regions of 2022. And while we’re at it, let’s invite our brothers and sisters to join us. Hope is a fire much easier to keep alive in community.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to cast my bet on Tutu’s wisdom and venture into 2022 with hope as my light to guide and bolster me through whatever darkness may befall us. Would you like to join me?

Test post for the school

Test post for the school

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Maecenas pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie at. Vel fringilla est ullamcorper eget nulla. Mauris nunc congue nisi vitae. Montes nascetur ridiculus mus mauris vitae ultricies leo integer. Nisl nunc mi ipsum faucibus vitae aliquet nec ullamcorper. Quis viverra nibh cras pulvinar mattis nunc sed. Quam quisque id diam vel quam elementum pulvinar etiam non. Amet consectetur adipiscing elit ut aliquam. Tellus cras adipiscing enim eu turpis egestas.

Aliquet bibendum enim facilisis gravida neque convallis. Aenean et tortor at risus. Ut porttitor leo a diam. Enim nulla aliquet porttitor lacus luctus accumsan. Sit amet massa vitae tortor condimentum lacinia quis. Aliquam etiam erat velit scelerisque. Commodo sed egestas egestas fringilla phasellus faucibus scelerisque. Erat pellentesque adipiscing commodo elit at. Ultrices dui sapien eget mi proin. Quis hendrerit dolor magna eget est lorem ipsum dolor sit. Dignissim convallis aenean et tortor. Diam volutpat commodo sed egestas egestas fringilla phasellus. Suspendisse potenti nullam ac tortor vitae purus faucibus ornare. Vel pharetra vel turpis nunc eget.

Dolor morbi non arcu risus quis varius. Et pharetra pharetra massa massa ultricies mi quis hendrerit dolor. Tellus molestie nunc non blandit massa enim nec dui. Id ornare arcu odio ut. Aliquet nibh praesent tristique magna sit. Quis varius quam quisque id. Molestie nunc non blandit massa enim nec dui nunc mattis. Ridiculus mus mauris vitae ultricies. Amet nisl suscipit adipiscing bibendum est ultricies integer. Ac tortor dignissim convallis aenean et tortor at risus viverra. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis tellus in metus. Faucibus et molestie ac feugiat. Amet nisl suscipit adipiscing bibendum est ultricies. Adipiscing tristique risus nec feugiat in fermentum.

Vitae tortor condimentum lacinia quis vel. Quis risus sed vulputate odio ut enim blandit volutpat. Nunc congue nisi vitae suscipit. Sapien et ligula ullamcorper malesuada proin. Pulvinar elementum integer enim neque volutpat ac tincidunt vitae. Accumsan sit amet nulla facilisi. Arcu risus quis varius quam quisque id diam. Ut enim blandit volutpat maecenas volutpat blandit aliquam. Morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada. Enim sed faucibus turpis in eu mi bibendum neque egestas. Integer malesuada nunc vel risus commodo viverra maecenas accumsan. Pharetra sit amet aliquam id diam maecenas. Morbi enim nunc faucibus a pellentesque sit.

Urna molestie at elementum eu facilisis sed odio. Vitae nunc sed velit dignissim sodales ut eu. Pharetra diam sit amet nisl. Dui nunc mattis enim ut. Ultrices sagittis orci a scelerisque. In vitae turpis massa sed elementum tempus egestas sed. Risus commodo viverra maecenas accumsan lacus vel facilisis volutpat. Arcu felis bibendum ut tristique et egestas quis. Et sollicitudin ac orci phasellus. Est placerat in egestas erat imperdiet sed. Mauris pharetra et ultrices neque ornare aenean euismod. Mauris a diam maecenas sed enim ut sem. Faucibus turpis in eu mi bibendum neque egestas.

A Conversation with God

A Conversation with God

Hello God,

What a year, huh? I’m sure you’re swamped with prayers and petitions. I’ve come so many times, asking for guidance I need, answers to the same old questions, for forgiveness I probably don’t deserve. I’ve asked for intervention in the lives of people I love and for you to help me be strong, kind and wise. But here I am again with my hand stretched out.

What is it I need now? It’s peace I’m after. And to tell you the truth, I’m not even sure I understand what that means. However, I’m pretty sure I know what peace is not. It isn’t never being troubled or having things go my way. Peace is not a goal, an achievement or a prize. It’s not something I can make happen no matter how many classes I attend, how many books I read, or how hard I meditate.

These days, I hear lots of pithy sayings about peace. It’s every step you take. It’s the space between the breaths. It’s our true essence. I kind of get all that on one level, but actually, if someone asked me to explain how peace is the space between the breaths, I’d have to make something up and hope I sound smart.

In church, I’ve heard the words, “the peace of God which surpasses all understanding.” So, I guess it’s okay that I don’t understand it since whoever said that obviously didn’t. Peace isn’t something we can get with our minds anyway, now is it? Hmmm, is it possible that it’s really just a state of being? Being okay no matter what’s going on around me, like a boat with a deep rudder that can ride out the storm? But if I have to wait until the storms pass and the water is smooth to be at peace, then I’m going to be waiting a long time. And at this stage in my life, I don’t have that kind of time.

Now, here’s a thought. Maybe peace is giving up trying to figure out what peace is, to quit pursuing it, and to stop feeling bad about myself because I’m not as peaceful as I think I ought to be. In other words, being okay no matter what’s going on inside me. Being peaceful even when I’m not peaceful? Now, that is definitely a peace that surpasses all understanding.

I like it, God. Thanks for the chat. I didn’t have much hope that I’d leave feeling so satisfied, but what is hope anyway? I’ll be back another day and we can work through that one. For now, I’m good.

This piece, edited for length, appears in the December 2020 issue of O.Henry magazine in their feature article, “Prayers of the People.”
© Marilyn Wolf

Keep Walking

Keep Walking


As the final hot days of summer begin to make their way towards fall, we’re still wondering how long the chaos we’re living in is going to last.

Here’s what I see when I look down the road: A pandemic which is still wreaking havoc in our lives; racial and political unrest the likes of which we haven’t seen since the Sixties; a forecast of the worst hurricane season on record; wildfires on a scale not experienced before; and the nastiest, most complicated, and high stakes election in our country’s history.

These times we’re living through challenge every inner map we have with which to navigate the world. I say “through” because I believe that we will come out the other side of this, that we not stuck here, that this has not become a new normal for our country.

“Hope is being able to see the light despite all the darkness.”– Desmond Tutu

Recently I had a conversation on Zoom with a couple of friends about the difference between faith, trust and hope. We never came to a consensus, but it got me to thinking.

We are in a cave right now. A dark and treacherous cave.

Faith is what tells us we are in this cave for a reason even if we haven’t a clue what it is. In Hebrews, 11:1, we’re told that “faith is the conviction of things not seen.” Obviously, what’s not seen is the outcome of this mess we’re in, but spiritually and cosmically speaking, it’s also why we’re in it to begin with. Is this just the result of human beings’ careless and short-sighted choices? Is it some kind of really bad cosmic joke? Faith stirs in our soul and says, “No, it’s not that at all. Keep walking.”

Trust tells us that when, not if, we stumble and fall, there is something there to catch us, get us back on our feet and point us in the right direction. That something may be the God of our personal understanding, our spouse or partner, friends, family. It may be our inner strength, our human will, or our innate resiliency. It doesn’t matter what it is. Trust gathers itself up in our gut and says, “I’ve got your back. You aren’t alone in this cave. Keep walking.”

Hope is what tells us this cave is not a dead end, that there is a passage to an opening which leads to the other side. It’s not optimism and makes no promise of something wonderful awaiting us. It’s simpler than that. Archbishop Desmond Tutu says, “Hope is being able to see the light despite all the darkness.” Even though our human eyes cannot navigate in the pitch dark, our hearts can. Hope fills our hearts and says, “Close your eyes. Now, see the light. Follow it and keep walking.”

What’s a Little Sadness To Start Your Day?

What’s a Little Sadness To Start Your Day?

Since the start of the pandemic, like so many of you, my emotions have been a roller coast ride. But one day earlier this week as I was reading the news on my back porch with my coffee and dog, a wave of sadness washed over me. Bigger than anything I’ve experienced in this chaos, it caught me by surprise as tears rushed to my eyes.

Doctors and nurses are drowning with no lifeboats in sight. Teachers are hanging on a cliff waiting to hear final decisions about schools reopening. Business owners go to work, wondering if today is the day someone walks in and threatens or commits violence because they’re asked to wear a mask.

Every day, I learn more about the surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths. I imagine just how many people are walking the floor with desperate worry about loved ones they can’t be with. How many are bent over double with grief from the loss of spouses, partners, parents, grandparents, siblings, friends and children?

I’ve been reading book after book on racism, and my thoughts are filled with my African American friends and people of color I don’t know and never will. How do they bear the truth of what happened to their ancestors – the beatings, rape, torture and lynchings? How do they stomach the murders of people like Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, to mention just a few from a long list.

I can’t help but compare my own life experiences to those of others I’m so conscious of right now.

So far, my family and friends have been spared the virus, but not so for over 3 million people in our country which includes over 135,000 deaths. And we know there’s more to come.

None of my ancestors were enslaved. None of my relatives were hung from a tree simply because of the color of their skin. And we know that racism still rages in this country and that more tragedies are likely to happen.

You wouldn’t know it by reading this, but I’m a hopeful person by nature. Down inside, burning low but steady under this heavy blanket of sadness, my hope survives.

This time we’re living in has brought some hard truths our way. To fully wake up means seeing it all, feeling it all, living with it all. As much as it hurts, I choose being awake, knowing what I know, with every bit of this heartbreak and every ounce of this sorrow.