Right now I am staring out a window watching dark clouds and hearing loud claps of thunder. It’s Monday and my second block was exceptionally difficult (as usual). It feels like the summer will never get here. Much like the incessant rain outside, this school year seems never-ending.
It is times like these that I pause and remember that there is joy amidst the storm but I have to choose it. Just yesterday during a violent hail storm I watched in awe as the sky revealed a full rainbow. Tree line to tree line – every color clear as the threads on my shirt. But less than 24 hours later, I am already forgetting that beautiful picture of a promise and fixing my gaze on the darkness that surrounds my tiny classroom window. This choice represents the ongoing battle inside my head.
Do I focus on the fact that its Monday and the week ahead seems like a mountain that is impossible to climb? Or do I focus on the small victories today? Does the darkness outside effect my mood, my day or my week? Do I remind myself of how hard the wait is for the arrival of my angels?
Or do I carry the hope of Spring with me?
Yesterday my pastor gave a poignant and beautiful reminder that life is seasonal and every trial will pass eventually. As a faithful follower of Christ, I cling to this truth. I am hopeful that eventually I will live a life of everlasting sunshine.
A Converted Optimist
“Violence occurred so that a violent end could be prevented.” – Scott Sauls
Over time I truly believe that my disease convinced me that I was a pessimist. I began to see the worst in people, in me. I began to expect bad things to happen. I was consumed with negative thoughts. These thoughts were toxic and unfortunately I allowed them to fester to where they impacted my actions. In the sermon yesterday the pastor told a childhood story of when he ate poison berries. He ate so many that the hospital had to pump his stomach.
My poison is lust and for two decades I feasted on it until finally, to save my life, my spirit was pumped. Toxins had to be extracted so that I could live again fully. This spirit pumping was very painful and was not free from consequences. It was absolutely vital for my survival and looking back I know that God spared me.
The best way to continue to cleanse my spirit of toxic lust is to let go of it and allow Him to be the great surgeon that He is. The more of Him I let in, the less room for toxins there will be. Simple as that.
So now I am an optimist. Ironically this transformation has occurred during the toughest trial I have ever had to face. I was a pessimist when my life was comfortable. When I thought I had everything worked out. Now that I know that my life is completely uncontrollable and my future is unknown – I choose to focus on the good.
I choose to live with hope.
“Work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen.” – Conan O’Brien
Conan O’Brien is one of my favorite comedians ever. I admire him even more after he re-quoted himself upon failing miserably at hosting The Tonight Show (his dream job). The first time he gave the above quote was his final broadcast as the host of The Conan O’Brien Show (right before starting The Tonight Show). It was a victorious moment for him personally and professionally and the quote was almost like an acceptance speech. He gave a commencement address shortly after being fired and explained that despite his failure he never believed those words more. I respect that.
I respect that Conan still believes that amazing things happen to those who work hard and treat others with kindness. I’m sure it would be easy to be jaded and mean given his recent failures. He has chosen the other path of humility and optimism.
So will I…