Stuck like a dope on a thing called hope

Last year, Colleen and I both posted year end wraps up for 2007, and I’m thinking if we do it again this year, then next year we’ll be able to call it a tradition, so look for a summation of “the good, the bad, and the ugly” later this week.

Looking back on what I wrote last year, I laughed out loud. You’ve heard the old saying, “We make plans; God says ‘Ha!’” This was all about that. As is almost always the case, my optimistic forecast for the coming year was less than accurate. As I read my gung-ho resolutions for the wide-open territory of 2008, I wondered for more than a moment what is wrong with me. How could I continue to be such a cock-eyed optimist when things so seldom go according to my plans? Why do I continue to believe the best about people when people often abide by definitions of “right” and “truth” and “friend” that vary widely from mine. Am I in denial? Or delusional? Or just plain dumb?

Novelist James Branch Cabell wrote in The Silver Stallion, “The optimist proclaims we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.” I'm somewhere in the middle, but tend to swing hopeful. It’s not that I’ve failed to learn harsh lessons about the publishing business; it’s that I’ve succeeded in learning lessons about a benevolent universe, a loving God whose hand is on me, and the topsy-turvy way things always seem to work out. And it’s not dumb luck. Antonio Gamsci said in his Letters from Prison, “I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will.”

Bottom lining it, optimism is born of gratitude, and gratitude is a conscious choice, an act of will.

Keep talkin' that happy talk.


janet little said…
Keep on keepin' on! And I hope 2009 includes Part Two of Redbone and the peanut butter sandwich of doom! What a cliffhanger!
Lark said…
I love the quote, "Happiness is what you choose to pay attention to" which I think is attributed to Janice Joplin (go figure!). Expecting the best and getting disappointed now and then is much more fun than expecting the worst and proving yourself right. So go for the optimism, Joni!

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