Pessimism is my soul’s default setting. Even when life is filled with blessing, melancholy has always been my temperament’s natural course.
As a result, it has been the work of my Christian life to turn away from the darkness and look up, look away, notice beauty and give thanks. But although I have been training myself for years, still I struggle against the constant downward pull that is my bent.
Like my daily determination to notice the good around me, the Christian life is to be a continual turning from darkness to light. A pivot toward perspective, toward grace, toward hope. Is this not the gospel story? Easter ushered in the greatest turning from death’s grief to resurrection life, as the old order of things shattered and hope rushed in like a flood.
We are to be a resurrection people; a people of turning – from hatred to love, from prejudice to brotherhood, from selfishness to open-handedness. For we have been adopted out of our orphanage of loneliness to a new life of kinship and belonging.
Every night I pray with my son, thanking God for His protection and provision that day, but especially for His presence. Oh, His presence! For what does life consist of without it? A scrambling for peace, for pleasure, for the false security of order, the arranging of circumstance just so, a shutting of our minds against the inevitable end?
Be children of the day, it says in Thessalonians. So I am trying, starting with searching out truth and beauty not only in the world around me, but in the people around me as well. And isn’t that the greater struggle?
Harder still is looking for those things in myself, and finding them. Perhaps that is why God tells us to call them out in each other.
In a culture being drawn ever downward into the twin vortices of anger and despair, let us shine a kindly light. Let us call out the beauty in each other, and hold out the hope that brings rescue from the darkness both around and within us.
I am turning toward the light today. Choosing the upward way, reaching out to the joy before me, searching out the lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. Will you join me?