So, CNN tells me that NASA is “cautiously optimistic” that Hubble repairs will work and that black voters are “cautiously optimistic” looking toward the election. And, did you know that Capcom Inc., Australian retailers, the book industry, and the international coal market are all “cautiously optimistic” about future sales? Cautiously Optimistic…..what the…. does that mean anything!?!? You could just as easily say “We think things are going well, but maybe they aren’t.” Or how about, “Things are good….or bad…..we’re not sure.”
It’s like a non-statement statement, it’s a cover-your-ass clause. And it’s not very hopeful. In fact, I think I’d prefer to be hopefully pessimistic than cautiously optimistic. For real. Adding caution to your optimism is like putting a cap on your hopefulness. Why would you want to do that? Why is it so scary to say “Today is in the crapper, but there is hope that tomorrow is gonna blow your minds!”? I love the thought of it – of unabashed hope. Hope so great that we are unafraid to wish and dream, to imagine the unthinkable, even to pray for miracles.
It reminds me of the oh-so-famous Jeremiah 29:11. You know the one, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to hurt you, plans to give you hope and a future”. If you have time (haha, that’s funny because we both know you do) you should take a minute to read through ALL of Jeremiah. It’s such a cool picture of God saying, “(obviously paraphrasing here!) Look at your life. It sucks! You’ve been exiled and you’re miserable. BUT, put your hope in me and I will be faithful to restore you!” He then goes on to describe how He’s ‘bout to break somethin‘ off for those who’ve spoken against him. (It’s super impressive, but “Courageously Fearful” will have to wait for a different blog.)
Anyway, my point is that I see a lot of messed up stuff here – stuff that doesn’t make me feel optimistic. Stuff that, quite frankly, pisses me off. Filthy babies with hungry tummies, aggressive, womanizing men with heartbroken wives at home, corrupt government that keeps getting richer off it’s third world constituents. I’m not “cautiously optimistic” about this stuff. However, I can say that I am “hopefully pessimistic”. Hopefully -meaning I have great hope that it can change for the better, and pessimistic – meaning I hate the way it is now. There you have it.
Currently, I would also apply this term to environmental protections, United States politics, the price of airfare, the Dow Jones, the Evangelical Church including, if not especially, missions/missionaries (yup, I said it), the California “McMansion” trend, rainy season, the American waist line, my ability to raise children and my competency to speak Spanish.
I know, I’m a jerk. I hope this doesn’t seem overtly negative. The whole point is that we have too much hope in Christ to limit ourselves to “cautious optimism” or to settle for things the way they are. If we want to see radical change, we have to hate the way things are enough to hope against hope that it can change.
Sorry, I get all fired up when I’m PMSing, but I’m hopefully pessimistic that my next blog will be more light hearted. 🙂