For Girls Who Have Embraced Optimism When the Facts are Unfavorable
July 25, 2014
Nina:“Sometimes I just wonder if I’m going too far with you.” Darius: “There is no such place. This is a destiny type thing, babe.”
Sometime during happy hour today –probably at the point when the margaritas turned up the volume on our laughs– the conversation shifted from casual catch-up to hard truths about the possibilities of lifelong companionship, and I felt like the character Darius from my beloved Love Jones.
“I don’t know,” my girlfriend said regarding the fact that women outnumber men in this area. “Maybe I’m too optimistic, but I still think [insert positive line about our chances for lasting love].”
“I don’t think you can ever be too optimistic,” I responded instantly.
If I had given it more thought, perhaps my pragmatic side would have overridden that comment. That side wonders if, just as there is perhaps such a place as “too far,” there might also be an outlook that is “too optimistic.” That side of me has been hyped up by the world’s claims that I’m a foolish dreamer who keeps learning the hard way that life does not always work out as we hope or plan. That reasonable part of me can occasionally trample the optimist that has been blooming since birth. That sensible Sheryl tells the idealist Sheryl to couch that optimism with realism and throw in a little pessimism for good measure and self-preservation.
This battle of wills is a constant struggle between my personalities. I find myself desiring all the awesome things life could throw my way, while trying to be content with its current state of affairs. I want to do my best, but not hate myself for the ways I seem to be falling short. I want to expect the ‘great,’ without being disappointed if all I end up with is the ‘good.’
However, tonight as I encouraged the optimism within both me and my friend, I wondered when and why it became a four-letter word. Dictionary.com defines an optimistic person as one “disposed to take a favorable view of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome.”
Sounds like faith. Of the Romans 8:28 variety, to be exact. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Faith has a positive view of all events and conditions, from the spectacular to the mortifying to the devastating, because it knows that in the end, no matter how far-off that end may be, the outcome will be favorable.
Faith is not something that facts or figures can chase away. It may entertain doubt for a moment, may even waver when internal and external critics chide its positive outlook. However, when we least expect it, faith stands up for itself, blurting out the very thing you were no longer sure you still believed.
I’ll admit it. Sometimes I consider my dreams for love and writing and life, and wonder whether I’m going too far with this optimism thing. But my faith boldly tells me there is no such place. This is, after all, a destiny thing.
Destiny, hope, and promises like that of Romans 8:28 are central themes of my new book. Check it out!
SheryLeigh is a woman who loves God, words, and people. She is currently living and loving as an author, blogger, poet, and spoken word artist in the Washington, D.C., area.
A communicator by education and trade, SheryLeigh holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Howard University and a Master of Arts in Management from Webster University.