In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed looks at the challenge of optimism vs pessimism with this quote – “Optimism shouldn’t be seen as opposed to pessimism, but in conversation with it. Your optimism will never be as powerful as it is in that exact moment when you want to give it up.” (Amanda Gorman)
Whether you are generally an optimistic person or a pessimist directly impacts your daily life. Someone probably already said this, but I’ll attribute t to myself here – “What you see depends upon how you look at things.”
It can be a dark and gloomy world for those trapped in an pessimistic outlook on life, just as it can be perpetually sunny and bright for the optimists of the world. I suspect that most walk right on that thin line between the two, sometimes seeing the dark side of things and sometimes the bright side. One can hope that the bright side wins out most of the time, such that you are seen by others as having a “sunny disposition”.
Optimism draws it’s strength from hope. Hope for the best outcome. Hope for friendship and love. Hope for better things ahead. In many, that hope is fueled by faith. Faith opens the door to hope by overcoming and eliminating the ultimate worst outcome in life – death. Faith allows us to accept what has happened, whatever it is, and continue to look ahead. Faith removes from us the burden of responsibility for solving all of life’s problems and puts that responsibility in the hands of God. Faith allows us to look at things and see the good in them, by seeing the God in them.
I recently used a quote by Albert Camus and another comes to mind for this post – “In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus
Albert Camus (1913-1960) was a French philosopher and novelist whose works examine the alienation inherent in modern life and who is best known for his philosophical concept of the absurd. He explored these ideas in his famous novels, The Stranger (1942), The Plague (1947), and The Fall (1956), as well as his philosophical essays, The Myth of Sisyphus (1942) and The Rebel (1951). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957.
The winter that Camus mentioned might be allegorical for despair and pessimism and the invincible summer for faith and optimism. A person of faith is by definition a person of hope – an optimist. How about you? What do you see? Is there within you an invincible summer?
I believe that there is within all of us that glimmer of hope that is fueled by an ember of faith, however tiny. If one but puts the tinder of prayer on that ember and nurtures it a little bit, it will flame up in your life to provide warmth and light – your invincible summer.
Try it, you’ll like it. You will see things differently.