Optimists by Patty LaRoche

Patty LaRoche

Optimists see opportunity in every danger; pessimists see danger in every opportunity.”

Winston Churchill

If there were a category somewhere between “optimistic” and “delusional,” my husband would land there. Need proof?

All I have to do is tighten the screw and the door will shut.” It did not.

This ladder is steady.” It was not.

I’ve found a new glue that will hold the water pipe together.” It did not.

Duct tape and zip ties will look fine on our outdoor lights.” They did not.

That kayak cannot tip.” It can, and it did.

Flex-Seal will stop this hose from leaking.” It did not.

Our boat is running well.” Except for needing a new battery, it probably was.

I tend to favor the pithy attitude of people like Walt Disney who once said, “I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.” That last part has been hard for Dave to nail down (pun intended).

Personally, I lean more towards a healthy dose of realism—you know, hope for the best but plan for something short of “best” (no doubt because that’s how my life has played out). John Wooden put it this way: “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” I have to admit, Dave does that. He never gets upset; he just plods along with his next, grand, Gorilla Glue and duct-tape idea.

Now, if you’re like me, you would much rather hang with an optimist than a pessimist. I know no one who wants to spend time with a curmudgeon who sees only what’s wrong, and even if they are right, their stubborn disposition does nothing to draw others into agreement with them. When I think of pessimists, I am reminded of the man who belly-ached to his neighbor, “My hen hatched out 12 chicks, and all of them died but 11.” Have you met someone like that? Worse, are you that person?

Real-deal Christians are not pessimists. They live by Romans 8:28: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. No matter if screws are stripped or ladders are uneven or batteries are dead. No matter what.

Optimistic people find ways to brighten other’s lives. Take, for example, major league baseball, which recently began its shortened season. Because no fans are allowed in the stands, the Los Angeles Dodgers came up with the idea of having cardboard cut-outs to replace the loyal, season-ticket holders who typically fill the seats. Then they allowed supporters to submit their pictures, pay a fee, and have their faces used. Remaining chairs hold large, stuffed animals and even celebrity cutouts. The life-size cutout of Tom Hanks—whose first job was to sell hotdogs at the Oakland A’s field—stands erect on the stairs dividing two sections behind home plate.

Before the game, the cameraman caught one of the Angels’ players walking amongst the Oakland “fans,” placing Angels’ t-shirts over the cutouts. How fun is that? They are finding good in something bad (Covid-19). We all should be doing likewise.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, Dave just headed to the garage with some wire and electrical tape. Something tells me there’s a story in what is about to unfold, and being the optimist I am, no doubt it will be a good one.

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