When I was a teenager, I was often called a Pollyanna of sorts by my family members. The words stung. They weren’t meant as a slight, but they sure weren’t meant as a compliment. But they were true. I did have an irritating way of looking on the bright side of things – of glossing over things and putting my own bright, sunshine-yellow brushstroke over life.
I had an optimism that came from a lack of suffering. An optimism that didn’t understand pain, or heartache, or nitty-gritty ugliness. I hadn’t experienced it. I don’t think I believed that it truly existed.
I grew up a little more and pain entered. It hurt and it stung and I wrestled. I still haven’t experienced pain and true suffering like so many in this world have. But for a long time, I looked at my life’s gaping holes . . . wondering where Jesus fit into this seeming new, raw, unbrushstroked life He’d placed in my lap.
I grew up even a little more and learned that not only does life take things out of your hands . . . sometimes, it simply doesn’t give you what you want. Some call it the “death of a vision.” What do you do when you feel like the life you expected got lost somewhere along the way?
Let me tell you, it’s easy to trade in some good, old, trusting Pollyanna sunshine for a stone-cold, bitter, E. Scrooge sort of cynicism. And I think in some aspects of my life, that’s exactly what I did. Because after you’ve been hurt in sensitive areas, it’s hard to trust people . . . yourself . . . God.
But He’s awakening me and I can’t dwell anymore on the things He-never-promised-but-I’d-come-to-expect, my assumed empty-handedness. He’s not left me to pine and simmer in bitterness. Thank God He’s been scooping me up, teaching me, teaching me, teaching me not to dwell on the seeming gaping holes of my life, but holding me close to His chest, pointing His finger, turning my face to see . . . Him. His hands. Toward this story He’s writing in my life. So many times I’ve wanted to throw away certain chapters, or change the course, or scratch in Audra-chosen details, but all the while, He whispers, “Peace, peace, child. Let Me write. I am the Author. The Perfecter.”
I am learning to let go of the pen.
I am learning to trace the etchings of His filigree.
Cynicism looks in the wrong direction. It looks for the cracks in Christianity instead of looking for the presence of Jesus. It is an orientation of the heart. The . . . cure for cynicism, then, is this: develop an eye for Jesus.
~ Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life
My eye catches on something fallen to the hardwood.