Hope and Optimism

As is important to note, “Church is a decision to hope and an invitation into the imperfect.”

“Hope” and “Optimism” can be held as slightly different phenomena.  I have met people – and I can be one – with an almost compulsive need to be optimistic.  I don’t like hearing sad stories.  I even struggle to remain in my seat during a sad movie – which means I see about 2 movies a year.  That saccharine”optimism” masks frankly a discomfort with pain and struggle. I am challenged by looking at it “in the eye.”  Ministry is shifting that in time but it is often a struggle.

And what I am learning is that I can sit with others who are in pain, who struggle, and see a deep hope grow in areas where I, in my human smallness, could not imagine hope taking root. And this hope is a sober and at the same time generative hope – one that is able to witness the struggle of life as well as God’s calming and compassionate hand gently holding lives in turmoil.

The miracle for me is that I can decide to hope!   And if I decide to hope, I can then face the imperfect not with a response that recoils from pain, but with response that is able to access compassion – a word literally meaning to “suffer with.”  This hope goes a place where simplistic optimism never could.

Life is filled with hope, if that is the decision we choose to make.  We are after all in the Presence of God – a Presence that deeply loves us and continually calls us home.  That love remains regardless of circumstance – a secret found most profoundly in those whose lives have suffered trials of fire.   To know is to know the imperfect and to know a soul deep, a bone deep hope.

So in that spirit of hope, take 15 minutes and enjoy this short video!

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