Finding Hope - Jim

Although I was raised Catholic from birth through my college years at Villanova, my religious practices were mechanical.  The strength of my beliefs were founded in my scientific background (I made my living as a Chemistry and Physics teacher for 41 years).   I saw wonder in the universe and no scientist, no matter how intelligent or atheistic, ever found evidence that something could be created from nothing.  If the universe came from a Big Bang, where did the initial force and matter come from?  I must conclude there is a God.

As a young man and father, any semblance of faith was connected to my wife of 46 years who is a devout Christian and lives her faith daily.  During the course of our time together we experienced four unanticipated and unexpected deaths from a nephew dying of SIDS, a tragic car accident of a family member and two quick deaths due to illness.  We also had to work through the birth of our daughter with Down’s Syndrome and all the related issues.

Through all those events of my life and all the diversity I've seen in the classroom, I found that having some faith, some idea that we are all connected in some grand scheme, has helped me be a better man, father, husband and teacher.   

It’s natural to go through the Why us question.  It was confusing when people suggested that we were picked by God because we were especially strong people.  In the beginning  God set life in motion, and may know what would happen to us because of our free will, but He didn't cause it.    It was disappointing how many friends and family members  closed their eyes to our reality because we handled our issues so smoothly.  Those close to you know the truth, others just assume. Know the difference between friendly and a true friend 

I took on this assignment of sharing Finding Hope stories for somewhat of the same reason that all participants decided to share their story. I have seen the evidence of a higher power over the course of my life.  I have seen how  all aspects of life are interconnected.  I have also seen how the younger people, who we should be influencing, are turned off by the hypocrisy and lip service we give to so many important issues. 

People need to talk more and argue less.  People need to demonstrate the basic principles of faith, hope and love in other words practice what they preach.  I see the Hand of God in all the diversity of skills, innovations, compassion and natural wonders of this universe.  I see the Hand of God in birth and the peace of eternal life in death.

Faith has given my life a purpose and has helped during my darkest times. I don't know how one gets through the darkest hours of life (which happen to all) without faith.

Today, March 29th happens to be my birthday, and I've had a very blessed life.   Should I be granted more time, I'll do all I can to fulfill God's command to love Him and use my gifts to help others.  Through my children, my former students, my new granddaughter and my words, I've tried to Honor God by leaving this world a better place.  I know for sure that my family has evolved from the dysfunctional, robotic family in which I grew up.

I thank my wife for being my moral compass.  I admire all the participants of this project for having the courage to share their stories.  I thank all the participants for trusting me with their hearts.  This experience was one of the nicest birthday gifts I could imagine.

 - Jim Randazzo

Finding Hope within a Community of Faith

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Never give up on God even when it seems hopeless