• Gabriel Donio

Seeking signs of hope during difficult times


There was a rainbow over Hammonton on the morning of April 1. (Courtesy Photo)

Did you see the rainbow in the skies over Hammonton on the morning of April 1?


I know many of you did based on the posts of pictures of it that were seen on social media that day.


I encountered it, huge and complete, arching in the air over The Gazette as I parked next to the building. It had been many years since I had seen one of that size. It was a comforting sight.


These days, we’ll take our signs of hope where we can get them.


Perhaps the most famous rainbow of all time is the one in the Bible, from the Book of Genesis. According to scripture, after the flood that destroyed the earth recedes, God tells Noah that the rainbow is a message that the world will never be destroyed by flood waters again.


“This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations; I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth,” Genesis 9:12-13 says.


Those were the days. We don’t seem to have as direct a line to heaven today, but it’s important to feel celestial signs like rainbows still mean more than sunlight passing through rain.


In other words, if we want to believe it’s a good sign, then it is a good sign.


Maybe for you it’s something else: the old friend calling you at exactly the time you thought of them. The good fortune that suddenly graces your personal or work life. Your favorite team picking up the exact player they needed.


Sometimes, the stars align, the tumblers click into place and the traffic lights all go green.

For some, it means divine providence is involved.


For others, it’s coincidence.


Some people don’t even notice. I always feel a little sorry for those people.


The last two-plus years have been hard ones on so many. It’s often difficult for people who have lost loved ones, or had their businesses and lives turned upside-down by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic or been impacted by wars in places like Afghanistan and Ukraine to see any good signs in the world.


But they are there.


Look in the eyes of your family and friends. Consider these treasures in your life, people whom you can rely on when times are difficult. Look back at the last two years and think about who really helped you through them. Remember all those signs with rainbows on them people put in windows when the pandemic began in 2020? We are living in the better future those rainbow signs were promoting.


Journalists are cynical by nature, and business owners have always been the most pragmatic people I’ve met. While I fit into both categories, I have always remained optimistic. I always think of the best possible outcome, even under some terrible circumstances. So many politicians have co-opted the word “hope.” It’s time to reclaim it. Hope isn’t a bumper sticker slogan. It’s a revolutionary idea that burns in the hearts and minds of people who choose to believe in good.


I’m one of those people.


The Shawshank Redemption is one of my favorite movies. It’s a story of the triumph of hope. I’ve quoted the following lines before, but it seemed to me this week that they bore repeating.


“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”



Gabriel J. Donio is the publisher of The Hammonton Gazette.