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.