I Can’t Help It, I’m An Optimist

June 27, 2019

Pat Maurer

Although I get discouraged as much as the next person, at heart I am an incurable optimist. That glass is always half-full.

While standing in front of the fireplace warming my backside a little over a week ago, I was contemplating the effects of a chilly, miserable and rainy spring and wondering if summer would ever show up.

Well it looks like it may finally be here. Jack had to turn on the air conditioner and the sun has been shining all day!

Of course that could all change tomorrow again. It certainly has been a strange spring this year.

You have to admit the abundance of sunshine helps to brighten the outlook quite a bit. Mix in a few incredibly beautiful mornings like today– well you do have to admit, it hasn’t been too bad.
One thing about most Americans, you can’t keep us down forever. You can find something good about almost anything. The other side of tough times is that they seem to bring out the good neighbor in all of us and make us even more determined to “make it” or help someone else make it through a difficult time.
We have seen a bit of that around here in the past couple of weeks. An old friend showed up, parked his motor home and proceeded to chip in and help Jack out with his overwhelming yard work this year.
Bob raked, weed whipped and cut dead branches all around the yard and even helped Jack tear down the old playhouse in the backyard that has been on his to-do list for at least five years now.
He left today, taking his home on wheels back downstate to attend a family wedding in the southern edge of Michigan, visit family and catch up on his mail that accumulates at his son’s home down there. But he said he will be back next month to help out again.
Maybe that means the trim around the house will get painted this year.
As we have aged, we have discovered that the chores on our nearly five acres are now much more than one person can keep up with. Even the inside projects seem to be going by the wayside more and more.
As much as we love living out here on the Tobacco, I think the time is just about here for us to bite the bullet and downsize. So we have decided to sell and settle down elsewhere in the area in something smaller and more manageable.
Of course that means there is an enormous amount of fixing up to do around here; a ton of more than 50 years of accumulation to sort through and distribute to family, give away or sell; and packing up (that haunts my dreams) before we can actually put the house on the market.
But then I’m still an optimist, it’s really a small problem, and I’m positive we will get through all of this.
When I pray, and I actually do quite a lot of that, I usually ask for courage, or the strength to handle whatever is coming next. That little prayer has, time after time, kept me from despair and is often answered in a positive way.
I remember once when we were a very young married couple with a baby, really struggling to keep things together and make ends meet. At a particularly difficult time, my Mom, who was depressed and having a pretty rough winter herself, called to ask if we could come for the weekend. We went and visited, not mentioning how broke we actually were that week. On the way home we worried about how our remaining 50 cents would get us through the five days left until payday. I made that little prayer. When we arrived home, we picked up the mail and our income tax refund check…
Although we have never been quite that financially desperate in the 50 years since, we have had our share of heartaches and problems to deal with over the years. I have made that same little prayer many times. It has been answered time and time again, not necessarily with money, things, or even a solution, but always with the strength that we needed.
So you see, I have to be an optimist.

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