Saturday, March 3, 2007

Promise Yourself...

“Promise Yourself ...
To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind...
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear,
and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.”
-- Drawn from the Optimist Creed of the Optimist International Club --
I ran across the above (abbreviated) creed again this morning. I used to have the entire creed on my wall or in a journal or notebook. (If it's in a journal I still have it somewhere, but I have over 200 journals. A family archaeologist may uncover it one day.)
I think I'll check into joining Optimist Club International. I reckon their ranks are dwindling in the wake of terror attacks, environmental disasters and degradation, and other inconvenient and troubling facts of life, but I remain hopeful and would love to hook up with others who are remaining positive.
Pessimists too often just sit and stew and grumble and gripe, or when they do take action can make things worse than the problem they are tackling. Optimists actually believe they can do something to create positive change. Martin Luther King Jr. was an optimist. You can create a list of pessimists yourself; it'll be quite long, I imagine.
Optimism has its foundation in love. Perhaps optimism is an unheralded spiritual blessing, now that I consider the possibility. It's hope-based; and you can't have hope unless your mind is bathed in a perspective that fosters it, and just such a perspective is benevolence. Benevolence is love in action. Benevolence believes you can meet somewhere in the middle of any disagreement and find a reason to shake hands rather than draw swords.
"I am an eternal optimist who daily lifts my head to the heartbeat of human existence." I think I remember this quote correctly.
I have always been this way. Had I not been optimistic, scars from early life would have built, layer upon layer, to such thicknesses that I would have been irreversibly crippled. (I was seriously compromised until I was born again in 1999, I do know that much as fact.)
There has always been a spark within that said, "You're okay. You're good. You're beloved. You matter."
I remember an old Jules Pfeiffer cartoon (did I get the artist's name right?) that showed a baby boy sitting on his fanny in diapers, having just fallen down. The bubble over his head said, "I fall down. I get back up." The next panel showed the same boy, five years older perhaps. He's on the ground beside a bike laying on its side. The bubble over his head said, "I fall down. I get back up." The next panel shows him as a teenager, and he's looking sad, as though he has a broken heart, perhaps having broken up with a girlfriend. The bubble says, "I fall down. I get back up." A later panel shows the same boy, now a man, very riled, very mad, shaking his fist. The bubble reveals: "You haven't laid a glove on me! I'll get back up!" A couple panels later, there's a tombstone in a graveyard, revealing that the boy, by now an old man, has died. And the bubble above the final panel reads, "I lie there. Pretending to be hurt."
That's an optimist. That's what I hope people see in me: an effervescent, sometimes defiant optimist. The world needs optimists. The pessimists are making things difficult for everyone around them, and the pessimism reverberates across the globe.
But just think of enthusiastic optimists like Steve Irwin, Mother Teresa, Julia Child and Albert Schweitzer. Just bringing them to mind generates a smile on my face. These folks are dead, but far from gone. Their optimism and love remain alive and robust in our hearts.
Optimism is pessimism's match, every day. I cherish the belief that optimism is even superior, not just pessimism's opposite.
Keep the faith. Life is a gift. Time is a treasure. Tell someone you love them.

1 comment:

Kristine M Smith said...

This post isn't publishing/formatting correctly . I put spaces between each paragraph, but it doesn't publish that way. I'm sorry for the inconvenience. Hope you still enjoy it!