Posted August 15, 2011
Opportunities in difficult times
By Father Eugene Hemrick
Catholic News Service
There have been times when I wished I had tuned out the news because of the
economic, military, ecological and health woes it reports. So much in our world
seems negative and outright frightening, leaving me to fear what our children's
future will be.
Before losing hope, we need to reflect on the opportune moment presented by
As undesirable as the tight job market is, it is causing many industries and
their employees to redefine and retool themselves in order to become more
efficient, effective and appreciative. Having job security is no longer certain,
and we are beginning to realize that going smaller and accepting less has
In the field of health care, we are seeing the emergence of better sharing of
information and the restructuring of hospital environments that are essential to
patients' quick recovery.
As wonderful as the automobile is, it needed dramatic restructuring. The auto
industry meltdown is causing the industry to rethink the car of the future: how
to generate higher gas mileage, cleaner air and safer vehicles.
Thanks to people tightening their belts, we are experiencing the emergence of
healthier living. More people have gardens, which is leading them to eat
healthier and enjoy the taste of natural foods. More and more we are realizing
that gluttonous eating habits and our highly preserved foods are our worst
The growing scarcity of energy and its rising costs are resulting in more
energy-saving appliances. Thermostats are being lowered, better insulation is
being installed and there is a heightened awareness of solar energy and wind
power. This is to say nothing of the creative projects young university students
are conceiving that are aimed at saving even more energy in the near future
while adding to our comfort.
As undesirable as war is, a new way of fighting is being conceived that relies
less on guns and more on diplomacy and reconstructing battered nations.
What is most encouraging is the new role education is playing in helping us to
cope with our difficulties. We are learning that returning to the status quo is
no longer desirable. Rather, we need to carve out a future unlike any before, to
dream of new ideas and embrace a fresh entrepreneurial spirit.
The word "opportunity" comes from the word "port": Picture a ship with masts
taking advantage of winds in order to sail safely into port. Although bad winds
seem to be blowing, a second look at them reveals they present us with an
opportunity for sailing us into new and exciting ports filled with beauty and