Hope. Optimism. Faith.
In light of recent events, those words are getting harder to find.
“It's difficult,” concurs Lafayette psychologist Dr. Amy Cavanaugh. “We are living in extremely challenging times, with a lot of events crammed together.”
And for many, these words have become more common:
Disbelief. Pessimism. Hopelessness.
“There has to be hope,” says Father Floyd Calais. “Jesus came to give us hope."
The triple threat of COVID-19, racially-charged protests and strong storms in the Gulf understandably have lot of folks may be feeling hopeless, out of sorts. So, where do you go? Where do you turn for that shot of optimism?
For many, the church is naturally one possibility. Father Floyd Calais has been a priest for 70 years, and—ever the optimist--- he thinks the current crises of health, social injustice and even natural disasters, might actually be blessings in disguise.
“Because people will see all the stuff they're doing now, will not bring them happiness,” explains Calais, “it's not bringing them joy. But if they live a good life or try to, they will find peace."
And prayer, says Calais, is of course, always a good thing.
“You have to do something to get that hope, and you get it from Jesus. If you turn away from God, forget about hope."
From a psychologist’s perspective, before any search for answers begins, a person should first recognize the challenges for what they are.
“It’s just to acknowledge and validate that people are frustrated, sad, hopeless,” says Cavanaugh.
That being said--- Human beings are resilient creatures, continues Cavanaugh. And separating from electronics and applying some simple tools can help you feel better about the world around you. “Meditation, prayer, whatever spiritual life is, exercise, getting enough sleep, eating well."
Whatever you focus on--- expands, says Cavanaugh. So, if you're going to focus on something, why not make it something positive?
“Just taking note of those beautiful things can keep things in perspective for you."
When it comes right down to it, our psychologist and priest agree:
The prescription or prayer for moving forward, and feeling better about the future zeroes in on the golden rule:
"…Which I think is to love each other and serve each other and stay committed to that goal at all times,” says Cavanaugh, whose words lead beautifully into those of Calais.
“If we ever learn to love our neighbor, that's peace. That's hope."
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