A Canadian View: Hope and Despair

by | Jan 24, 2019 | Formation, Reflections

A Canadian View will now be available in French – click the link to the right for the appropriate translation

As another year begins, I think we all have various hopes for this being a good year that may include job opportunities, moving to a new home, vacation times with family and friends, or perhaps a new baby or marriage in the family. Of course, each year usually contains some sad news along the way but is usually something we can accept and move on with life.

One of the most important roles we can play as members of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul is through our interpersonal relationship with our neighbours in need, wherever we encounter them. The home visits many of our members do are likely the most direct and affective way we have of engaging in this personal contact, both with those we visit and through them, Jesus Christ.

On a recent day of doing four home visits with my partner, I was able to see two very different views on what this year may have in store for us. We visited people with some chronic health issues that do not allow them to even consider finding a job. This is not to mention the obligation they still have to their family and children as well as persevering in their efforts to be their illness approved as a disability, thereby providing a larger amount of funding support. The despair that I encountered and listened to was sad to hear and frustrating as I could do little to help them further than some immediate food assistance.

However, amidst such despair I found hope by seeing the determination to continue down the bureaucratic path towards more financial support. I found hope hearing the faith that one lady had for things to improve. I wonder if I would still be able to believe if I faced the same situation as she does?

There was also the delight in talking to a teenage son of one family who was so enthused about going to high school and taking part in various school athletic activities. This is despite the fact he shared their small rental with his parents and five other children! My hope amongst such despair is that I and my fellow Vincentians can continue to help these families and in some small way, let them know that someone does care for them and hopes their future is brighter. May God bless us all.

About the author:

Jim Paddon lives in London, Ontario, Canada and is past president of the Ontario Regional Council of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. He is currently chair of the National Social Justice Committee of the Society in Canada. He is married to his dear wife Pat and they have six daughters and eleven grandchildren. Jim has been a member of the Society since the 1970’s.



Opinions expressed are the author’s own views and do not officially represent those of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Tags: Canada