"Do now, do now, what you will wish to have done when your moment comes to die." [St. Angela Merici]

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Being an Optimistic Realist in a Harsh and Hurting World

By Micky Wolf
My beloved was returning from errands (on a quiet street near our home) one afternoon only to come upon a bit of unexpected chaos in the pavement in front of him. It doesn’t take but a glance to realize the feathered creature in the accompanying picture is a buzzard.

For the record “Buzz” was huge, as most of these species tend to be when full-grown. Wing spans of adults can exceed four feet. Average size is that of large thanksgiving turkey, minus meat weight to allow for added feather volume.

As for the photo op?

What you don’t see is the remains of the less fortunate, badly mangled, four-footed member of the animal kingdom that was serving as dinner for the big, black, road-kill scavenger.

Part of me wishes the cute, furry, squirrel hadn’t been smashed by a spinning front tire in the first place. The other part of me realizes that even in such a gory mess of things, God has created all that is in our world to serve a unique purpose.

You’d have to have been living under a rock these last months to not be aware of the harsh and hurting—even ugly—world we live in during these tumultuous times.

It would be oh-so-easy to become cynical, negative, and critical. Oh-wait-a-minute. Some people have gone that route.

However, it’s one thing to make a mess with intention, quite another to choose to improve a situation that is unpleasant for one reason or another.

Case in point—“Buzz” didn’t take down the squirrel. It simply moved in to do its job. A Divinely commissioned sort of street sweeper, if you will.

Stuff happens. Too often the consequences of choices we make contribute to the harshness, to the nasty messes we encounter along the way.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Being an optimistic realist doesn’t mean we pretend there are aren’t any messes that result in pain or suffering—for others or ourselves.

Being an optimistic realist means we take the high road. We make the conscious choice to uplift and encourage. To speak the Truth in Love without being vindictive or judgmental. To be kind, compassionate and sensitive to the needs and circumstances of those around us.

It’s not about who or what made the mess.

It’s about accepting the reality that ugly stuff happens—and then extending a hand and getting involved in cleaning up the broken pieces.

Jesus may have been many things to many people. How grateful we are that he loved and cared enough to become the mess. For your sake, and mine.

And yet, where would we be if God had not chosen Resurrection for his beloved son?

Now that, fellow sojourner, is optimistic realism in its finest hour.

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