The other day I was riding down the highway of life and heard the line from an old Joe Walsh song on the radio..."I can't complain but sometimes I still do..." and had to laugh to myself. And frankly...AT myself as well. Some days I can be as grateful for every blessing that God has bestowed upon me to the "nth" degree, and then the next moment...I really need some cheese with my whine.
I'm actually a really huge optimist. Okay, I hear those of you who know me really well laughing hysterically right now. Just hang with me for a minute while I clarify that statement just a tad. It's like this: I will always initially see the bright side...the glorious possibilities...the immense wonder of it all. I will see the best possible outcome, the Hallmark movie ending, and the memory that should last a lifetime in every circumstance.
Always. Without fail.
I do realize that this is not the Reality Express I'm on, but it is the way I'm wired. In fact, my mother used to brace herself for whatever I was about to get all enthusiastic about...because she knew that the likelihood of it ending well was equal to discovering calorie-free Ben & Jerry's that tastes as awesome as the real stuff. Possible (I hope)...but ridiculously unlikely.
Those of us who see the best possible outcome as a general rule also (at some point) spend a lot of time ticked off that the rest of the world doesn't share our view and isn't cooperating. We think that we know what will make us happy, what needs to change, and who needs to be doing what where and when. I had a coworker who once nicknamed me "Our Lady of Perpetual Disappointment"...because I always seemed to be mourning some colossal failure or another...most of it a result of wishing that things were different and being unappreciative of what was going well. I finally got enough of it, started turning it over to God, and realized that the only person that I have any control over at all is myself. And some days even that is iffy.
Eventually, if we are lucky, we will find that occasionally things work out far better than we think they will. We finally let go of our expectations and simply let things be what they are. After years of being buffeted around, my current modus operandi is hoping for the best...but preparing for the worst.
After a lot of life experience involving colossal "fails" and major disappointments I still allow myself to just get all excited for about two minutes. I love those two minutes. I mean...why not get all fired up about life?
Immediately following the elation, I launch into some "Sergeant Friday" mode that makes me want to ferret out what is likely to go wrong. Because in my personal experience...this isn't just optional...it's mandatory. I have a strong ability to make the most of whatever comes...but this is because I've already rehearsed a great deal of what could possibly go wrong already in my head. Based on this...I prepare. I'm often the one with the safety pins, Bandaids, Chapstick, extra toothbrush, camera, cash, or whatever. Yes, I do this primarily to make myself feel better. And I do it because it has kept me out of trouble and extended therapy.
Being the natural optimist that I am...any good news of YAY! - be it for me or someone else - is wonderful! I'm not one of those people who thinks that if something good happens to you then my life immediately begins to suck somehow proportionate to your good fortune. I mean, it MIGHT, but that's probably just coincidental. No, I believe that if something awesome is happening in your life...then there is probably room for something wonderful to happen in my own at some point in time. It gives me encouragement that good things are still out there happening to good people.
Looking for the silver lining is certainly a lot more fun than waiting for the other shoe to drop. I think that most people I know would agree. Just remember...to an optimist...if that other shoe does drop...there's a chance it will at least be cute. So there's that.