Aleteia

Do You Love Your Pessimism? Then You Will Never Know Joy

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Cynicism and negativity are easily grown weeds that eventually overrun the spiritual garden, choking out joy

Having written on Internet venues for more than fifteen years, you’d think I would be used to it, but sometimes “people of faith” in their virtual forums still confound me well past the time you’d think anything could.

It seems to me that some people—and they are people who call themselves Christians—are determined to be negative and look for the worst in all things and in everyone. If you give them the helpful news that “you have an angel who is with you until you either get to heaven or wholly reject God,” all they can say is, “Yeah, but there are demons too! Why don’t you write about the demons, huh? Why don’t you write about that instead of your Pollyanna angels?

Dude … you’ve got an angel, right there, next to you; just for you!

Don’t miss out on the chance to be grateful for that!

Don’t miss out on getting to know and love and depend on your angel, just because you’re so enthralled to the negativity you serve far too much in life.

Unless, of course, you prefer remaining blind to the love and power and faithful devotion that has been given to you, for the whole of your life, for nothing you have actually done but simply because you are a soul precious to God!

Don’t diminish what has been done for you all because you have developed a habit of doubt.

I get it; it feels safer to put on the armor of cynicism and let the world know you’re nobody’s chump by voicing an incessant “yeah, but” at everything placed before you.

You have an angel before you: Yeah, but what about demons, huh?

You are alive and enjoying reasonably good health: Yeah, but for how long? We all get sick and die!

Today the autumn leaves are especially beautiful: Yeah, but next week we’ll have to rake them up!

Today, you can raise a cup of coffee to your lips on your own steam: Yeah, but …

Yeah, but nothing. How about you just practice saying “thank you”—taking a look around at your life full of the distrustful “yeah, but” and seeing all the good things around you? Because “yes, and yet …”

I’m going to die someday, and I might have a scary illness first: Yes, and yet I have today to live!

I’ll have to rake up those damn leaves next week: Yes, and yet I can see their beauty with my working eyes; I can hear their crunch beneath my feet with my ears. I can sit with a cup of coffee, and, raising it to my lips unassisted, I can enjoy this moment.

There are demons prowling, searching for the ruin of souls: Yes, and yet I have my guardian angel, a Church founded by Christ, and the sacraments he instituted, all meant to save me from demonic influence.

There is nothing easier to cultivate in the garden of our lives than pessimism, negativity and cynicism; just sprinkle the manure of prideful doubt among all the flowers, and the next thing you know you’re overrun with the weeds, and they have choked out joy and all that is left is “yeah, but” grousing.

Cultivating gratitude is a little more work. Sometimes you need to pick through a lot of weeds to find the delicate but beautiful petals and buds, from which real joy can eventually emerge into even the most pessimistic life.

Work on finding those petals, because guess what? Those demons you’re so concerned about? They’re the very things that keep you from fully contemplating the wonder of your own angelic companion.

Think about that.

Snap out of it, please. It’s your very negativity that invites the darkness (and all that dwell therein) to think it can pull up a comfy chair and stay a while, since you’re already, helpfully, turning down the lights.

Elizabeth Scalia is Editor-in-Chief of the English edition of Aleteia

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