Optimism is a funny thing. Many people think of it as something based upon outside circumstances…as in, I received good news at work today, and I’m therefore optimistic about the future. We find little rays of light to leap onto within the drab grey cloud of everyday life, and we hold onto those as the fuel to carry us through the day.
Unfortunately, those little rays of light will run out sooner or later. In today’s world, they are few and far between. Turning on the news, you find little to be optimistic about and it’s all too easy to become discouraged.
I struggle with it frequently. I cannot honestly say that I wake up every morning with the joy to be living another day. But lately, I’ve found myself to be much more optimistic than in the past. It isn’t some false sense of optimism, where you close your eyes and pretend that there are no problems. It comes from a deep love and trust in God, who has been faithful and will always remain faithful throughout eternity.
As I was out walking this afternoon, I was taken aback by the beauty of nature. Every blade of grass, every leaf on each tree…it was all in place for a reason. I was re-centered towards what really matters in this world, regardless of what my personal circumstances are. Though I may not be in my “ideal spot”, I am where God wants me at this time. And that should be enough for me.
I’ve been reading a lot of history lately, as I am wont to do…and something struck me quite profoundly. Here I am, reading these amazing true stories of these fascinating people, who struggled with the same issues I’m currently struggling with. I’m learning important lessons from these individuals who in some cases had extremely difficult lives, much more difficult than my own. How can I possibly complain about my life, when so many through the ages have gone through so much more? What lessons could we ALL learn from those who went before us?
I think that sometimes my generation (and every young generation) can be quite arrogant and dismissive of their forebears. Regardless of whether or not you agree with their ideologies or belief systems, and their rightness or wrongness in today’s society, they hold a lifetime of experience. In the same way, our ancestors throughout history hold as much experience as we are willing to take in. If we would only stop, and read, and listen….perhaps we would become all the more enlightened in our own lives.
Swallow your pride and go read a history book. I promise you won’t regret it.