Keep On Jumping And Find Your Joy
A group of frogs was hopping contentedly through the woods, going about their froggy business, when two of them fell into a deep pit. All of the other frogs gathered around the pit to see what could be done to help their companions. When they saw how deep the pit was, the rest of the dismayed group agreed that it was hopeless and told the two frogs in the pit that they should prepare themselves for their fate because they were as good as dead.
Unwilling to accept this terrible fate, the two frogs began to jump with all of their might. Some of the frogs shouted into the pit that it was hopeless, and that the two frogs wouldn't be in that situation if they had been more careful, more obedient to the froggy rules and more responsible. The other frogs continued sorrowfully shouting that they should save their energy and give up since they were already as good as dead. The two frogs continued jumping as hard as they could, and after several hours of desperate effort were quite weary. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to the calls. Spent and disheartened, he quietly resolved himself to his fate, lay down at the bottom of the pit and died as the others looked on in helpless grief.
The other frog continued to jump with every ounce of energy he had, although his body was wracked with pain and he was completely exhausted. His companions began anew, yelling for him to accept his fate, stop the pain and just die. The weary frog jumped harder and harder and - wonder of wonders! finally leaped so high that he sprang from the pit. Amazed, the other frogs celebrated his miraculous freedom and then gathering around him asked, "Why did you continue jumping when we told you it was impossible?" Reading their lips, the astonished frog explained to them that he was deaf, and that when he saw their gestures and shouting, he thought they were cheering him on. What he had perceived as encouragement inspired him to try harder and to succeed against all odds.
This simple parable contains a powerful lesson: words can lift someone up with a message of encouragement or can cause deep wounds as weapons of destruction. Each day we must weigh the messages that surround us and decide what influence and lasting impact we will allow them to have on ourselves and how we respond to them.
Pope Francis spoke of this perspective recently, spreading the message that God wants people to live with hope and joy - not bitterness - and to dream with him of a better world.
"Please, make sure we do not pay attention to disappointed and unhappy people; let us not listen to those who cynically plead not to cultivate hope in life," he said Aug. 30 during his weekly general audience. "God wants us to be able to dream like he does and, with him as we journey, to be quite attentive to reality -- dreaming of a different world."
The pope compared the first disciples of Jesus with the youth of today. The disciples had a healthy restlessness in their young hearts, seeking for meaning in life. Young people today need to seek to set their hearts ablaze with the knowledge that any disciple who does not carry joy in his or her heart "does not evangelize in this world."
People do not become preachers of God's word by "sharpening the weapons of rhetoric," the pope said. "You can talk and talk and talk," but it will not make a difference if that bright light of joy is missing from one's eyes.
So it’s time to hop to it and pray that we can be like Jesus, igniting youthful euphoria and encouraging others to not give up. I hope we all pray for those who need encouragement in the aftermath of tragedy, to do as Pope Francis has encouraged us, to “encounter Jesus, who gives us new joy and hope and leads us -- even through trials and difficulties, to an ever-fuller encounter with him and fullness of joy.”