I heard a speech recently in which the speaker shared a story about the persistent optimism they admired in their step-father. This beloved man’s philosophy, which he voiced regularly throughout his life, is captured in this single, simple statement . . . everything is in perfect order.
Even after losing one wife after another to cancer (suffering three such losses), he stood firm in his optimism. No matter what came down the pike, he still believed everything is as it should be.
I do not know if his conviction came from a faith that was rooted in knowing his maker, but it certainly must have been tethered to the understanding that we are not in control of anything so the best we can do is to love each other well. He must have understood things are going to happen in this life and we can either let them make us bitter and resentful or we can continue to believe a power greater than ourselves is in control and everything happens for a reason.
In my own life, I have not always been so optimistic. It has been a long journey of coming to the place where I have learned to trust God’s love enough to truly believe God is good all the time. Even so, I still have days where I wonder if I am ever going to find relief from the physical suffering that has been my constant companion for the last decade.
I wonder, but I also know I can wonder optimistically or pessimistically. I can either hope or despair, and of those two choices I am firmly convinced hope is the only real option.
Yes, even in the midst of suffering, everything is in perfect order. God has a plan and a purpose for it all and nothing will be wasted. I believe this, but I also need all the encouragement I can get to keep on smiling. Hearing of this man’s persistent optimism gave me the encouragement I needed for today, and when the speaker ended by reciting the Optimist’s Creed, it challenged me to step up my game and be recklessly optimistic in all my tomorrows! What have I got to lose?
The Optimist’s Creed by Christian D. Larson (written in 1912)
To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful expression at all times and give a smile to every living creature you meet.
To give so much time to improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud word, but in great deeds.
To live in the faith that the whole world is on your side, so long as you are true to the best that is in you.