24 February 2010

On Optimism

Last week was a difficult week in the Wingnut home.

It started with our dishwasher.

It had been slowly fading away as all appliances do, and we decided to bite the bullet and purchased a new one.  The hassles that go along with any major purchase like that are enough to drive most people a bit insane, and we were looking forward to having it delivered and installed and over with.

There was confusion with the subcontractor who was going to install it, but we finally hammered all that out and scheduled the delivery and installation.

As we were reading some of the online reviews of our particular model, we discovered that we could possibly need a part that would not be included.  The contractor said he had the parts on his truck, but he would have to charge us all his ususual markups.  Off to the home improvement warehouse we go to save ourselves fifteen bucks or so.

My wife went out to run the errands, and was gone longer than I had thought she would be.

When she finally did come home, she was a mess.  She had been crying, and continued to cry as she walked in the door.  She could hardly speak, and finally managed to squeak out, "I got in an accident."

It wasn't bad in terms of human suffering, but our car cannot be repaired, or at least not with our budget.

It's very easy to become overwhelmed with the amount of money flowing out of our bank account at this point.

Shan is on maternity leave right now, leaving us with one income.  Our savings account was to be used for the inevitable hospital bills, as well as to cover any monthly shortcomings until Shan goes back to work.

The hospital bills have been higher than expected, and then our dishwasher died, and now we need to buy a car.

Add that to the normal everyday stresses of having two children to care for, and it's a fairly disheartening situation.

It's hard to be optimistic sometimes, isn't it?

But I still believe it's the right way to live.  As Christians who believe that Jesus came to redeem all of the Cosmos and bring it back to it's perfect state, we have no business being pessimistic in this life.

If we truly believe that Christ suffered and died to reconcile this entire Creation to God, then we must believe that everything will turn out okay in the end.  Maybe not for a few weeks, or months, or years, maybe not even in our lifetime.  Maybe we won't see it get better.  But we still believe it will.

In order to continue this hope that we have, for the renewal of all things, we need to practice it every single day, in every situation we encounter.

That's why optimism is the best way to live.

We could lament and moan and cry for the fact that we have to buy a new car now.  Or, we can be thankful that no-one was injured severely.

We could live in fear because we won't have any money left in our savings, or we could be thankful that we did have the savings in the first place.

Living optimistically is not easy all the time.  But the times when it does get increasingly difficult to live optimistically are precisely times when it becomes all the more important to remain optimistic.

"It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters."
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”
-Charles R. Swindoll
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Matthew 28:16-20 (emphasis mine)


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