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Cruel Optimism vs Contentment

Chapter 40

Good Monday Morning to this week 40 of 2022

Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” we can boldly quote,

God is there, ready to help;
I’m fearless no matter what.
Who or what can get to me?
Hebrews 13:5-6 / The Message

A relation of cruel optimism exists when something you desire is actually an obstacle to your flourishing. Lauren Berlant addresses what desire really means from a personal perspective and how it is interconnected with our optimism and attachments. She affirms that desire should be tied to things that indeed bolster one’s flourishing rather than impeding it. The assertion is an inquiry into how humans view the present as something to overcome for our desires to be achieved. Further she affirms that life should be lived on life’s terms, thus to appreciate the beauty of the present we should not let attachments and hope distract us.

Is the sheep better that has two or three mountains to graze on than a little bee that feeds on dew or manna, and lives upon what falls every morning from the storehouses of heaven, clouds, and providence? Can a man quench his thirst better out of a river than a full urn; or drink better from the fountain which is finely paved with marble, than when it wells over the green turf? J. Taylor

There is a fable told about a king’s garden in which the trees and all the flowers began to make complaint. The oak was sad because it did not bear flowers; the rosebush was sad because it did not bear fruit; the vine was sad because it had to cling to the wall and could cast no shadow. “I am not the least use in the world,” said the oak. “I might as well die, since I yield no fruit,” said the rosebush. “What good can I do?” said the vine. Then the king saw a little pansy, which held up its glad, fresh face, while all the rest were sad. And the king said, “What makes you so glad when all the rest pine and are so sad? I thought,” said the pansy, “that you wanted me here because you planted me, and so I made up my mind that I would try and be the best little pansy that could be.” Let us all try to do our best in the little spot where God’s hand has placed us.

What a beautiful example for all of us is the resolution of the old lady who, from a crabbed and anxious body, became quite the opposite! When asked what had induced the change, she replied, “To tell you the truth, I have been all my life striving for a contented mind, and finally concluded to sit down contented without it.”

Wishing you a week full of contentment!

Philemon

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