The Suffering Optimist

God has created us unique, flawed yes by life circumstances, and the corruptibility of our souls, but unique and loved. I have discovered for myself, just how corruptible my soul is. How openness can somehow poison the soul.
Throughout life I have being an optimist, optimism is nurtured in an environment of hope. But when that hope is on the wane, negativity increases. For the optimist that negativity  is like poison for the optimists soul.
In every group there is always the person that’s a bit too negative, sometimes you call them the cynic or the pessimist. In the book Winnie the Pooh, we call him  Eeyore, who would say of the weather “It’s snowing still,” said Eeyore gloomily. “So it is.” “And freezing.” “Is it?” “Yes,” said Eeyore. “However,” he said, brightening up a little, “we haven’t had an earthquake lately.”
The chalk and cheese of most social groups and in our churches is the optimist and the cynic or pessimist, they see the world very differently, their attributes are fed by different things. The optimist finds the cynic exhausting, whereas the cynic finds the optimist, not rooted in any sense of reality as they see it.
However the cynic offers the optimist a measure of levelheadedness that they sometimes need, he or she helps the optimist to see the inherent risks in activities. And the optimist helps to sooth those fears and anxieties that underpin the cynic and the outcome can be a better plan.
We need in our churches both cynics and optimists, we need our church to be balanced by the gifts cynicism and optimism can bring rather than one sided. Sometimes we see one as better and the other as worse. The cynic probably sees the optimist, as airy fairy! Not rooted in reality.  Whereas the optimist can see the cynic as attritional, divisive and difficult.
Worse than that for the optimist, cynicism is there Achilles Heel, it is the poison, that can crush the spirit of the optimist. Cynicism however feeds off negativity, and if you look around there is plenty of that dressed up as modern-day wisdom, fear mongering we read in the newspapers, sometimes it even masquerades as comedy.
Alternatively optimism feeds off hope, but if that hope is lacking in a particular group or church, it becomes very difficult for an optimists voice to be heard. She herself begins to doubt in the possibility of hope.
As I have mentioned for the church to move forward we need both the yin and yang of optimism and cynicism, a faithful circle founded in God’s creation. As an optimist I need the cynic to help me see the big picture sometimes, the perceived negativity can be a good thing, checking the reasoning and honing the plan. Conversely a people dominated by negativity can lose hope in the future and even in themselves.
The Lord has created us cynic and optimist to greater or lesser degrees, so regardless of our character traits let us put Jesus first asking for his strength, wisdom and guidance. And viewing people less as a character trait which we like or not, but instead looking and affirming the gifts they bring, within the body of Christ the church, so that the church of Christ might attain a hope and purpose rooted in reality and a spirituality that authentically connects  people with Jesus.

1 Comment

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