Our boys were sitting around with us this weekend and somehow the conversation turned to the idea of “optimism”.  This is actually a difficult concept for young adults today with the constant negativity and distrust that surrounds them in the world they are to command.  Of course every generation has its struggles and disagreements with what has come before but I look at kids now and think how they are bombarded constantly with messages of how terrible everything is in the world.

We are blessed with incredible technology that allows us to do so much but now we can also know about every single horrible thing that is or could happen anywhere, anytime.  I wonder how it must feel to be excited about a future where you are constantly told you don’t look good enough, you don’t have enough stuff, you are not good enough, you can’t trust anybody, and the next Apocalypse can come at any second.  We really need to think about the messages we are sending out there…

But back to optimism.  They have their opinions of course and they tease me about my view about people being good and about how you may as well expect the best thing to happen in a situation because otherwise, you’ll just feel bad and upset all the time and it won’t help anything.  Or there’s the “make the best of whatever happens”, “don’t get upset over little things” and those kind of ideas too. They make fun of all my “touchy feely” books I read- I’m not “realistic”.  They are so young.

Random House defines optimism as:

1. a disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome.
2. the belief that good ultimately predominates over evil in the world.
3. the belief that goodness pervades reality.
4. the doctrine that the existing world is the best of all possible worlds.

1.  confidence, hopefulness, cheerfulness.
1, 2.  pessimism, cynicism.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2012.

It has struck me that I guess I am basically an optimist.  After all of the sadness and pain, the struggles through grief, and coping with life’s ups and downs on top of that, I somehow have come out standing up to that definition and still, mostly, working from a positive mode.

Don’t get me wrong- I am not jumping out of bed every morning feeling like a million bucks, accomplishing every goal I set out for myself.  I carry my scars and have to deal with the fact that things have not gone as I would have hoped.  Obviously.  I definitely have my bad days and say my share of “pessimistic” and “cynical” things I’m sure.  But I know that I could not have made it this far if I did not believe that “good ultimately predominates”.  I know that even in my darkest moments, I would think of my other 2 children and know how important it was for me to be here for them.  That is “goodness pervading reality”.

When my father died, I remember how excruciatingly painful that was and also thinking after all the ceremonies were over, how this was only the first of probably many times that I would experience this in my life.   And when my daughter died, it was the most awful thing I ever felt in my life, something words can’t describe.   But I also remember making a decision that I would go on and somehow survive; somehow make  the best of the life I have- it was the only choice to make.  Somehow, there was hopefulness.

So in the midst of vicious heartache, mind-numbing sadness, rote day-to-day activities and all the rest that grief brings, there is still the possibility for optimism.  It may be deeply hidden right now or starting to shine through and you don’t see it.  It’s not about running around laughing and “turning frowns upside down”.  It’s about finding the good where it is right at the moment you’re in, if that’s as far as you can go. The rest will come.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. marthajpc
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 16:17:48

    Good morning, Cindy! I am following your blog now–after bookmarking it and looking at it now and then. Saturday evening, I took a look and decided to join in this conversation. Later that evening, I realized that I had been to a friend’s memorial service that afternoon (died at 66 of breast cancer). I did not even put two and two together that I ended up on your blog because I was grieving my friend. That is how strange grief is! I enjoyed this morning’s thoughts and thank you for taking on a taboo subject in our culture (death, grief). We can serve each other so much better if we can somehow allow death and grief to be a part of life.


    • Cindyss
      Feb 29, 2012 @ 21:54:12

      Hi Marty
      So I am finally officially responding to you! It’s interesting that you said that about serving each other better if we allow death and grief to be a part of life. That is the main motivation behind me moving forward after many years of back and forth and contemplation of doing something with griefwork. After my experience with my father’s death and the lack of support out there, I understood how much we have need to improve on our way we deal with (or don’t) death and grief. I’ve seen so many people suffer so much more than they need to because of it- it really is unfortunate and unnecessary. It’s hard enough!

      I’m sorry to hear about your friend. I hope she had a peaceful passing and that you have good memories to comfort you. I hope you’ll continue to follow the blog and add in your thoughts. If there are any topics you’d like info about, please let me know. Take care…


  2. momshieb
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 01:26:03

    Gently put, Cindy, but so true.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: