Tireless Optimism

Things are breaking faster than we can fix them at this point. You might think we would be daunted as we are just setting out on this adventure, but that is not the case. Of course, part of any adventure is flirtation with danger and willingness to confront the unknown.  (As in, “What will break next? Who knows?”) That takes a bit of pluck, not to mention a hearty dose of optimism.

I’m what you might call an apocalyptic optimist, with an outlook that goes something like this: the world is going to hell in a hand-basket, but in the meantime, I’m sure everything will be just fine!  I can also be a bit moody, swinging between the extremes: from “this is so exciting!” to “this is the stupidest thing we have ever done!” (I often experience the two simultaneously which makes me feel really crazy.) My husband is very steady—things are what they are, and will continue to be that way so there’s no reason to get excited.  That means, in my opinion, he can’t truly enjoy something, but then he is somewhat impervious to disappointment.  Not that he doesn’t get frustrated sometimes, only that he doesn’t freak out. I, however, do freak out—freak out happy, freak out scared, freak out mad, take your pick. 

So when things break, Jay calmly looks at it as an opportunity to learn something new, like plumbing or electrical engineering. That’s his brand of optimism. I, on the other hand, will feel like freaking out, but attempt to talk myself out of it by playing Pollyanna and finding something to be grateful for. Like, “At least it broke now, while we’re tied to a dock only an hour from our house and not in the South Pacific!” I said as much to one of our G-dock neighbors who was privy to our electrical troubles this past weekend. He said, “Boy, you sure see the glass half-full, huh?” And a few moments later, “You’re gonna need a LOT of that glass-half-full…” I think he’s right. Keeping our attitudes in check and keeping our sense of humor and sense of adventure is going to be our key to survival—both here at the dock and when we actually leave someday. We’ll have to have the kind of optimism that says, “All this trouble is worth it!”

Of course, for those of us who believe that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are in sync with His plan (loose paraphrase of Romans 8:28), there is no choice but optimism. It doesn’t matter if we go broke fixing this boat, or if we are hot, tired, hungry, or in trouble—all of that, all the hardship will ultimately be for our good. We’re not doing this because we thought it would be easy.  And God doesn’t really care about our comfort as much as He does our character. So it may be hard and uncomfortable and we may experience growing (or shrinking) pains as we try this new mode of living, but, in the end, according to the written guarantee above, it will all be worth it.   There might even be some pleasant surprises to enjoy along the way! I’m feeling optimistic.