It’s been said to me that I’m an optimist.
I’m not sure how I feel about this label. On one hand, it means I’m a constant cheerleader (my sport of choice in HS, for a fun fact) cheering on those I love most to the end goal, the prize, to finish this marathon that we call life. I fit this role naturally, like the sideline was made for me. It’s comfortable.
On the other hand, I’m a little selfish conscious about that kind of label. When we think of optimism, we often think of naïveté, innocence, and an all round lack of understanding about the truth of the world around us. I’d like to think I don’t fit into that category, but the fear, to be fair and honest, is there. Like maybe I’m just too Pollyanna – I’ve missed the boat called knowledge and understanding and wisdom.
And then, in the midst of grad school stresses and cancer diagnoses, financial hardships and life altering miscarriages, horrifying tragedies and relationship troubles, I see that the joy is still there. The joy is STILL there.
No, this is a different breed of optimism. Like a never-ending fountain of perpetual bliss about the world, like a glass half-full and my cup runneth over always kind of state, a view that both defies and transcends the world.
Because in truth, my optimism stems from the fountain Himself. Without Christ, this world is a spiral of Dawn dish bubbles, meeting their impending doom in the garbage disposal. In other words: this world sucks the joy out of life. We are left with a grimy film and a spotty sink of empty. This world doesn’t satisfy.
Yes — the question you are asking lingers. What do we do with the stresses and the strain and the cancer and the gun fights, the terrorism and the hunger, the lost lives and unhappy endings?
For me, the answer lies at the core of the Gospel itself. The evidence lies in the UNMEASURABLE, OVERFLOWING grace that Christ lavished on us at the cross. I didn’t deserve any of this life. I don’t deserve the breath in my lungs or the roof over my head, or the car that I drive, or the fresh, clean water that I drink or any of the many, many gifts that have been given to me.
So what entitles me in the Gospel to live an easy, simple life free of sadness and pain and anger? Nothing. When I adopted this perspective, it changed my whole life. I didn’t deserve anything, and yet I got EVERYTHING in Christ. I was sentenced to death, and yet was given LIFE. Life ABUNDANT.
That doesn’t make the hard things easier per say, but it does mean in the midst of those hard, treacherous things, that no one and no thing can steal my JOY. The foundation isn’t in health or in wealth or in freedoms or in physical abundance. It’s in Christ. And that makes ALL the difference.
So, maybe I am an optimist, if you want to call me that. I call it grace, a never ending fountain of grace.