Posts Tagged ‘Optimism’

What A Positive Outlook Can Do

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

It is hard to remain positive.  In light of so much pain, so much chaos, pushing back away from frustration and dispare takes deliberate energy.

That is not to say life is without suffering and the grieving that attends it.  It is to say that context however … the holding as it were … is best embedded in light, not in darkness.  What do those positive emotions bring?

Positive emotions come down from heaven … from heavenly love … which brings life to everything that it touches. (Secrets of Heaven 1589)

We are pone, simply put, to distortions born of negativity. Distorting the world around us in stories that entrap others and entrap ourselves.  It is normal as a pastor to often work with two people in the same family or marriage, each with their own story, each completely believing in the rightness of their cause, and each in a sense then completely “right.”  Those distorions, merged with a negative outlook or “spin”, swirl together, reinforcing the dysfunctions that can quite literally blow relationships apart.

A positive outlook may not solve all the problems of the world.  But what it might just do is help us to change … to change our stories. We all could use a little more benefit of the doubt.  We all could use a smile.

Hope and Optimism

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

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!