Yes, I'll post the other half of the wedding report. Soon. I promise! It just takes an absurdly large amount of time to put together.
I woke up this morning with a deep sense of frustration due to having heard another cannon-blast in the war of hatred currently being waged against Sarah Palin, whom I very much respect. It was some nonsensical article (click here for a biased report from the UK) about how she allegedly tried to get her ex-brother-in-law the state trooper fired, calling it an abuse of power, but reading the facts on that state trooper according to one who appears to have done his research, the guy needed action taken against him whether or not she had anything to do with it. (See #32.)
It's hard to remember, sometimes, that Jesus said his followers would be hated. (Not that the Left restricts their hatred to followers of Jesus.) I'd somehow never fully connected that with willful misunderstanding, malicious distortion, and criminally unjust accusation.
Anyway, I happened to be at Christ the King church this morning for my brother-in-law's baptism, and Pastor Grant Fishbook reminded me in his sermon that optimism is still possible and still important. Being a natural optimist, I liked this very much.
Take the story he told, which might have been true or made up, but was at least wholly believable. He said he went into a coffee shop and offered to buy coffee for the guy behind him in line if he'd answer just one question. The guy agreed, and Pastor Fishbook asked "What's right with the world?" "Not a [blank] thing", the guy responded. So Pastor Fishbook handed the guy his coffee and said "How's that?" "It's good," said the stranger. "That's one point for me," said Pastor Fishbook gleefully.
He used the same principle to point out that the guy had a little money and a job—two more things that were 'right with the world.' Then he read the passage from Philippians 4 that says "… whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."
There, I thought, is a timely reminder.
I've been giving thanks in threes lately—yes, it's gimmicky, but as a sort of trinitarian way of reminding myself to give thanks it comes in useful. For a good husband, a loving family, a warm home. For books and houseplants and lamps. For an enjoyable job and respectable bosses and good team members. I'm finding thankfulness a helpful part of maintaining optimism.
And I think Trucker Tom had the right idea when he called into Father Roderick's podcast a few episodes back and suggested that people turn off the media for two weeks and see what it does to their attitude. If you listen to the news all the time, he said, you're going to think that we're all going to hell in a handbasket and everything's completely out of control. Sure, a lot of things are out of control, especially right now—but most of that is getting exacerbated by hysteria, which is amped up by doomsday reports from the news. Day-to-day life is still pretty good for most of us and we still live like kings compared to most of the world throughout most of history.
I like being cheerful. I'm not giving it up for politics—forget it. As for Sarah Palin, I'll be praying for her encouragement these next few weeks, whatever happens with the election.
Here's a link to my brother-in-law's blog (not the brother-in-law that got baptized today) for an excellent comment on the importance of certain issues and a short comment by Mrs. Palin on the topic.