I woke up thinking about my post about weeping with. It’s a true story, but it isn’t the whole story. Because we smiled in each of those rooms. Tiny laughs about relationships, about perspective, about events. Smiles about timing, about mercies, about corners turned.
I have a tendency to push back against mindless optimism. Sometimes we call that denial. When there are facts about the current situation that people are unwilling to talk about, or cry about, or listen to, I try to help people quiet their arguments long enough to listen. But when you are fully aware of how things are, and you acknowledge the likely direction of the situation, and you have a confidence in God’s presence, I think of that as informed optimism.
“I will sing of the mercies of the Lord.” It’s a song that started through my head as I was thinking about the whole story. It’s a little kids song from when I was a little kid. The first couple sentences of Psalm 89 from the King James Version were set to music in a repetitive way: “I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.
For the record, it’s probably good that kids were only singing the first sentences. Later in the psalm, the writer says, “How long, Lord? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your wrath burn like fire? Remember how fleeting is my life. For what futility you have created all humanity!”
That’s not as catchy. But it is true. Both parts of that psalm resonate with our lives. In many conversations, I discover that people are both laughing and weeping. They are speaking both of God’s mercy and the pain of life.
I think that’s healthy. Informed optimism. Excruciating hope. It’s the wholeness of the story of Lent and Holy Week, of the Ascension and the Return. Weeping with, rejoicing with. And sometimes at the same time.