I am the kind of person that is often frustrated that there is no jazz-hands emoji. That is to say I'm an optimist. The glass isn't half-full. It's all the way full if you think about it, because no one ever fills it to the rim anyway, that would be silly. And if it's 3/4 of the way full we should just round up! Cheers!
Between my natural disposition and my training in PR, I am THE QUEEN of silver linings. This is not an entirely positive trait.
I had to learn how to sit with hurt - to just let things suck when they sucked. I learned that when I was sad or mad or hurting, I didn't need a positive spin, I needed to let it be. This taught me that when other people are sad or mad or hurting, they don't need silver linings. They need someone to sit down beside them and say, "Yeah, this sucks. It's the worst. I'll sit here with you, if you want. And if you want to be alone, I'll just fold the laundry on my way out the door." I am growing in this.
I am still an optimist, but I am no longer a rainbows-and-unicorns optimist; I 've seen enough of life to know that things are not always good.
When I was in high school my optimism looked like **jazz hands**. Today, it looks like hope.
The thing is, redemption almost never looks the way I think it will.
Isn't that always the way? They looked for a king and got a baby. They looked for a conqueror and got a servant. They looked for a throne and got a cross. Redemption never looks like you think it will. It's hard to see coming.
My life looks nothing like I imagined, in a lot of good ways, but also in some hard ways. I have no idea how things are going to turn out. I've given up guessing, because I'm not yet thirty and I have three kids and three books and I've moved 8 times so just WHATEVER. But I am not discouraged by the fact that I have no idea what's going on, or by the fact that a whole lot of things look pretty darn UNREDEEMED. I am steadfast in hope because of this glorious mystery:
Christ in me, the hope of glory.
I have Christ in me. I can't not live a redemption story. I could no sooner stop hoping than stop breathing. I can't stop thinking that everything is going to turn out great, because I actually believe it.
I actually believe in crazy-grace and Jesus the death-conqueror. I actually believe that I could not extinguish the love, the providence, or the delivering, sustaining arms of God if I tried. I am His, and He won't stop redeeming my life. (Oh my word, is this what it is to trust?)
Christ in me, the hope of glory. That phrase is tattooed on the front lobe of my brain these days, on the inside of my eyelids. That is where my hope lies. That's the source of the spring of my relentless, grown-up optimism.
So maybe you are in the middle of surviving, and are running a little short on hope and optimism. Maybe you thought redemption would look like healing, but you're finding it looks more like purpose. Maybe you thought it would look like saving that relationship, but you're finding it looks more like beauty from ashes. Maybe you thought it would look like a good job, just in the nick of time, but you're finding it looks more like a tribe of people to carry you through. Maybe you thought redemption would look like a baby, but you're finding it looks more like the birth of compassion, a calling.
I don't know what it's going to look like like, but I know that it's gonna be good. I know that some days will suck like leeches, but it's going to be okay. I have Christ in me, his breath in my lungs, and he makes everything glorious.
Hope has become an accidental theme of my life. I chose Hope as the middle name for my daughter, not knowing the prophecy on my own tongue. She is Madeline the hope-giver, and she is glorious.
I am a grown-up optimist. I cannot have it any other way.
"As for me, I will always have hope, for He who promised is faithful." (Psalm 71: 4 and Hebrews 10:23) Kate
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*and eat them myself because you live too far away.