Living in Hope

1h1a2284.jpgA couple of Fridays ago my day started sensationally. I had been after a set of Wilson FG 17 golf clubs for years and lo and behold, a set on Marketplace, with a Ping Anser 3 putter, was selling for the princely sum of $5. Couldn't wipe the smile on my face.

After I got back to the College, I had a couple of very productive meetings, one with a parent and the second with the President of EREA and a representative of the Board. A couple of hours waxing lyrical about you, your sons, our staff and community, and our achievements and plans. A few Dolce and Salato cannoli and some great coffee, see our guests off, and prepare for a staff member's 60th birthday celebrations. On the way to the car, I popped in to the Maintenance shed to see the FG 17s and during my adulation of the newly acquired golf clubs, I get a phone call from my niece. Given my brother was in hospital fighting an infection, I suspect bad news. In an instant my world has collapsed, as I get the news my younger brother has passed away. What has followed these past two weeks is the full range of human emotion, from the deepest sadness and grief, to being enveloped in love by the boys, their parents, my colleagues, friends and family. To say I am struggling is clearly an understatement, but I am surviving, and surviving is a good thing.

Most people fear death I guess, but the reality is that death only affects those left behind. I have been to many funerals in my life; far too many. Some have been completely non-religious, others spiritual gatherings and most have been Funeral Masses. Some have been celebrations of a long life, or a well-lived life. Others have been the anguish of a tragic premature death due to accident or illness. Some have left me uplifted and others left me completely demoralised. When I look at the one thing that keeps me going, it is hope. Hope that the deceased will live on in the hearts of the ones they leave behind. Hope that there is a positive legacy to celebrate. Most importantly for me is that there is hope that one day I will be re-united with my mother, brother and other loved ones.

Hope can be such a powerful thing. Hope is not the same as optimism. An optimistic person generally is more hopeful than others. On the other hand, the most pessimistic person you ever met can still be hopeful about something. Hope is very specific and focused, usually on just one issue. To have hope is to want an outcome that makes your life better in some way. It not only can help make a tough present situation more bearable but also can eventually improve our lives because envisioning a better future motivates you to take the steps to make it happen. Whether we think about it or not, hope is a part of everyone's life. Everyone hopes for something. It's an inherent part of being a human being. Hope helps us define what we want in our futures and is part of the self-narrative about our lives we all have running inside our minds.

"Hope can be such a powerful thing."

The definition of hope can differ depending on the person doing the talking. When people speak about hope in a spiritual context, it might mean believing good things will happen with faith in a higher power. They might direct their hopes outward in prayer. For others, it might mean always looking on the bright side and seeing challenges as opportunities. In other words, always 'hoping for the best.'

Whatever the details, hope in general means a desire for things to change for the better, and to want that better situation very much.

In a way, having hope links your past and present to the future. You have a vision for what you hope will happen.

1h1a3975.jpgAs we enter the season of Advent in a Catholic school, it should be appropriate to consider the Hope of the Advent Season. Advent is the four-week period of expectant waiting, hopeful anticipation and joyful preparation of Jesus' birth. It is a time to remember Jesus coming into the world more than 2,000 years ago, prepare for Jesus to come into our hearts and lives today, and wait for Jesus to come again. But even for those who do not believe, the timing of Advent at the end of the year means we can reflect, recharge, renew and make our plans for the following year. It should be a hope-filled time that brings the benefits of another year of experience, successes, failures and overcoming adversity.

I hope you and your sons have had a great year. I know that few of us will be able to say that universally, but even with my recent bereavement, I can say that overwhelmingly, and hope you can too. I hope you have a wonderful break in the company of those you love and who love you. I hope that your sons can reflect of their triumphs and challenges and I hope that you can spend some time with them planning the next phase of their schooling. Above all, I hope the staff at CBC Fremantle have returned your trust and hope in us by delivering on the commitments I make on their behalf. Thank you for your unwavering support and your steadfast partnering with us. May 2022 close out as well as it can and bring you health, joy and love.

Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future.

Mr Domenic Burgio