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I have lived in different places, I was introduced to different philosophies of life. Yet one thing was constant in my life: the absence of hope. To the enlightened atheist that I was, hope was meaningless and like joy, it belonged with the dumb and the fool. Humanists and artists had deeper, more solemn thoughts.

My deep thoughts quickly turned into despair. The spare room in my apartment was like a dark closet where one doesn’t want to go. There I would throw the mail on the floor without opening it as well as many things that were piling up. In that room, in the midst of the physical and mental chaos, I would paint and write frantically, and then I would close the door. I remember writing a poem to the baby that I had aborted just a couple of months before. Painting, like leaving the TV on in the background, was keeping my mind from thinking. My paintings were somber and depicted a tortured female figure with broken wings.

My friends found my writings “very spiritual” and encouraged me to get them published. Indeed they were inspired, but obviously not by the spirit of God. They were dark and dealt with mature themes. One day, a psychic told me that he could feel a curse on me and the cries of the people I had killed. He said that in a past life, I was a barbaric queen who had killed many people. That man scared me to death and his revelation both fit in and added to my despair.

Hope came into my life years later but I hit rock bottom first. I was an agonizing 8 months pregnant woman consumed by feelings of guilt and unworthiness. I went to a counseling session with a religious sister who opened some doors that I never suspected could be opened to me. She spoke rather harshly about a God who is greater than I am. Just like in the Magnificat, I was cast from my throne, the throne of conceit where I had been sitting all of those years. For the first time, I was humbled but I didn’t feel diminished. There was light, but I didn’t try to possess it. There was Hope and I didn’t dismiss it because it was made for me and I was ready to receive it at last.