I will admit it. I am an optimist. As Webster’s Dictionary defines it, I am one of those people who believe that good will prevail. I have come to be this way for many reasons.
First, I came into this world equipped with an easy, cheerful disposition.
My mother told me that when I was a baby, she never knew when I went to sleep at night or when I woke up in the morning. At night she would put me in the baby bed and I would play until I went to sleep, and in the morning when I woke up, I would play and coo until she came to get me out of the bed. You might say a part of my personality is bent toward happiness. Some of that must come in our gene package. Our granddaughter Elizabeth Jane is turned that way.
Second, I grew up in a home permeated with optimism and hope. My father was a pleasant man to be around and my mother was often heard to say, “Every situation will usually work itself out if you will just let it.” One of the themes of our household can be found in the words of King David of old, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”
Third, in the home where I grew up, I came to have faith in God. My brothers, my sister and I were taught it and our parents lived it.
When I was a small boy, a man came to our house one day selling various religious-based articles. Among them were Bibles and Bible story books. He also offered a variety of quotes and sayings and Scripture verses printed on beautiful backgrounds suitable for framing. My mother seemed most interested in those, especially one in particular. Its background was a stunningly deep royal blue and on it, etched in fine gold glitter, were the words, “Have Faith in God.”
She purchased it, framed it, and hung it on the living room wall just to the right of the front door. Over many years it quietly delivered its message as we would come and go. So revered was its place in our house that my mother had an exact replica of it inscribed on our father’s gravestone. Without faith in God there is no real cause for optimism.
Besides all that, I am an optimist because of what I have observed and experienced throughout my life.
Of course, there is so much going on in our world today that does not lend itself to optimism. I have observed over the years with resigned amusement as U.S. ambassadors have trekked back and forth to and from the Middle East seeking to maintain some sort of peace. No lasting peace will ever be achieved there, at least not a negotiated peace. The Arabs hate the Israelis. They always have and they always will. We will be embroiled in some kind of conflict in that part of the world until the end.
These days there is much talk about the health of our national economy. The homepage of my computer displays the headlines of the Wall Street Journal. Everyday the stock market showcases its hypersensitivity. The slightest bit of new information can send it soaring or spiraling downward. Almost all the “experts” see a correction coming. And then there is our federal government, which seems intent on remaining embroiled in an ugly political tug-of-war that weighs on us all.
At the time of this writing another mass shooting is being reported – in a church no less. One is prone to ask, “What is our world coming to?”
Yet in the face of so much uncertainty, there is still much room for optimism.
And I find hope in the words of an old hymn that goes like this, “Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand. But I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my hand.”