“Whatever you did, you’ve been officially labeled a disturber of the peace.” -Frodo to Gandalf, Fellowship of the Ring
“Bruce: Hello, how ’bout you, mate? What’s your problem?
Marlin: Me? I don’t have a problem.
Bruce: Ohh, okay. DENIAL!!!!” –Finding Nemo
“Pilate said to Him, ‘What is truth?’…” -John 18:38
“YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!!” –A Few Good Men
I have been toiling over my thoughts behind this article for some time now… mainly because this subject been rolling around in my head for years. Actually, for decades.
I was one of those kids who started off caring deeply, in a world that is largely apathetic. I am blessed to have come from a family who also cares deeply, intensely, about the most important aspects of life… but there are times when this “blessing” as far as my outlook has felt more like a curse. In the past, I have envied those who could be numb when all kinds of horror surrounded them, or mostly blind so that they don’t even have to be numb. These people can only see the nose in front of their face (if that), and are only really concerned by topics like getting faster internet service, or whether it’s going to be rainy the next day, or how much money is in their little bank account.
There are also those who are not naturally numb or indifferent, but choose to be blind and numb through drugs or other substances. They just can’t handle the depth of feeling anymore, so they shut it off. My hunch has always been that those who turn to drugs probably “feel deeper” than most, and don’t know what to do with this intensity… so they shut it off, whether it be with street or prescription drugs. I get it. Because I’ve been there.
But there is another phenomenon floating around and spreading these days that has me more concerned than those who would promote heroin use. Because most people agree that heroin use isn’t a good idea. We all kind of know that. Even the addicts know it.
There is a new drug in town. A deadly one. And actually, I’m not so sure it’s new. But it’s gaining in popularity with leaps and bounds.
I call it “False Optimism.” Which equates ultimately to “Denial.”
Allow me to explain…. Most of us have heard the “glass half-full OR half-empty” question… if you answer half full, you are an “optimist.” If you answer half empty, you are a “pessimist”. But I have a third answer to this question: BOTH answers are true. The glass is half empty AND half full. And if you deny either one of those, you are not living in the fullness of truth. The glass can’t be half empty without it being half full. It is not one or the other. It is BOTH.
The phenomenon that is spreading (with the help of ‘health and wealth folks’ like Joel Osteen) is that the glass is only half full. And that’s all you need to know. Just focus. Focus on the full. Ignore the empty. And you’ll be good as gold. You may even acquire more gold. Who knows.
To clarify, it is good to focus on God’s blessings and on joy and hope, etc… Goodness knows, I need to focus on the reality of Goodness, Truth, and Beauty for my own survival. But He allowed us to be on this earth to see the CONTRAST of His goodness as compared to the “work of the enemy” in this world, and this contrast should inspire us to gear up for battle, to fight the half-empty glass that the world offers, to get engaged, to do good, to love, and to stand up for the weak who are being persecuted, harmed, and even killed. If we only focus on half of the truth, we are missing out, and we run the danger of being easily deceived. If anyone tells you that the glass is only half empty, they will lead you down a road of depression and despair, and an addiction to melancholy wailing and bitterness galore. If anyone tells you that the glass is only half full, they are lying to you, and they are usually selling something, whether you’d like to admit it or not. This kind of false optimism usually involves the “glazing over of eyes” and the “drinking of Kool-Aid” and can end up pitting you against loved ones who actually care deeply for you, or who can see the peddling salesman a mile off… whether they are selling a way of thinking or a product of some sort, it usually results in you handing over your mind, your heart, your money, your family, and eventually all of your ‘extra’ time. And you won’t see it if you are focusing on a fake glass of water that is half full but not half empty. Actually, your eyes may be crossed, behind those rose-colored glasses. Let’s hope no one’s getting truly harmed while you are staring at that glass, trying to make yourself believe…
I say that last sentence because I’ve actually seen equal harmful lasting consequences from the “silver-lining crowd” as I have from the ‘drag your chin on the ground and scowl at people” crowd. I’ve seen people “smile and wave” while their lives are literally falling apart (a tragic example is that of Robin Williams recently), and I’ve seen “down in the dumps” folks that drive every last charitable person away. Neither way works, and neither way leads to truth.
I’ve seen it over and over again, and I have experienced it several times first-hand. Only, it seems (praise God) that my eyes couldn’t stay glazed for too long, or down in the dumps for too long. Eventually, I become a “disturber of the peace” by asking questions. I’m not content with depression (or a life-sentence of mental illness with no desire for healing), whether from myself or those I hang around, and I’m not content with glazed eyes that are oblivious to reality and obviously fake with a big huge mote around their heart (and intellect, sometimes) and a big huge shiny-toothed sparkly smile. Pulease. I’m trying to stifle laughter and tears at the same time here.
And, I have discovered that the only people who can handle my questions are either humble (or trying to be, as I feebly try), or desperate for truth as I am, or both. If people have glazed eyes or they have something to hide, and you are a Truth Seeker, they will fear you. They may even hate you, and slander you. If you are one of these, like me, you are a small percentage of the world. The majority of people are conflict-avoiders, or fakers who could win an Emmy for their red carpet performance, or people who truly don’t care, so long as their rent is paid and their convenience and comfort aren’t challenged. But you, the one who cares, who hungers, who knows there’s more to life than just the humdrum mundane cacophony of endless chores and the “next paycheck”… YOU are the one who will change the world. You CAN tip the scales. Because you SEE. You are SOBER. You are not so drunk with “All Is Well” that you are unable to fight in the battle when necessary. You are ready, with a positive, and realistic attitude, based in Truth.
The Truth is that there is no Empty Tomb without a crucifixion. The truth is that there are really living breathing people, children, being persecuted and massacred. The truth is that passionate amoral people are attempting to take over the world, and they are making unfortunate headway.
And the TRUTH, if we are awake and ready, is that the ultimate victory is God’s, and God’s alone. THIS is true optimism, and true joy. I just want to be in HIS army, and not the one who fiddles while the world burns down.
Love and blessings…