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By Rev. Ray Atwood   Sacred Heart Catholic Church, La Porte City

Optimists and Pessimists

In each of us is an optimist and a pessimist. The story is told of two boys who were given a Christmas present by their father. One boy was put in a room full of toys, while the other was put in a room full of manure. A short time later, the father went to each boy. The first boy was crying because he didn’t find a toy he wanted. Then the father went to the other boy’s room. The second boy was smiling, laughing, and digging away at the manure pile. When asked what he was doing, the boy replied, “I’m looking for the pony. With all this manure, there must be a pony in here somewhere!”
Christ addresses the pessimist in each of us. Isaiah 35 talks about the exultation of the desert and parched land. The Lord will strengthen feeble hands, firm weak kneels, and vindicate fearful souls. This is an important and relevant message for twenty-first century Christians.
There are many disappointments these days. Family, friends, government, society, and even Church are sources of disappointment. But we should remember that every disappointment is also an appointment with Christ. God can turn the greatest disasters into grace-filled moments. The message of Advent is we have a God who chose not to abandon us when times are bad, but One who keeps coming back to us, calling us to Himself.
The Lord is always watching over us. He calls us to be strong, have no fear, and trust Him at all times. He can turn the pessimism of life into optimism. This is no guarantee against struggle. But it is a guarantee of divine support and guidance. So we can be a pessimist and despair of God, or we can be an optimist and trust that He will be with us always. His precious presence is the greatest reason for optimism now and always!