THE OPTIMISTS - Rochelle Cameron

Assistant Vice-President Human Resources & Public Relations

Sunday, November 11, 2018

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It seemed the right thing to do ahead of diving straight into the 'silly season', and in this time of incredible love and hate, confidence and fear, fake news and alternative truths, to hear shared voices of optimism. SO asked the question: What's your take on optimism?

When you suffer great loss, receive devastating news, are down on your face, how can you be optimistic? I will not even pretend that somehow, like Julie Andrews inThe Sound of Music, I have always been able to “simply remember my favourite things and then I don't feel so bad”. I know that what keeps me optimistic is knowing that “all things work together for the good of those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

I have experienced for myself and witnessed enough pain and disappointment to know that optimism does not mean that you will not grieve and mourn. No sah! You will cry, your heart will feel like it has been shattered, you may even consider giving up. What it does mean is that, in the midst of it all, you cling to the lifeline of hope and put on your shield of faith, knowing that this too shall pass.

This brings me to my mother, who has a special brand of optimism. I remember when my first car was stolen. Can you imagine on Christmas night, dem tief me low-profile, two-door, black, almost-new Honda Integra, not even three months after I bought it! I called Marcia, barely able to speak through the tears and told her of my circumstance. This was my Marcia's response: “The car was insured and they took it and left you, yay! What's the problem? Look at how many cars on the road, but there is only one of you.” Then she went on to remind me that if this is the most devastated I had been so far in my life, I could give thanks.

I certainly learned over the years that a stolen car does not even begin to compare with the loss of a loved one, closed doors in my career or a broken heart. There have been those times when I have struggled with the question, “God how could you allow this to happen?” I can hear His voice through the pain saying “Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for I am with you.” So whatever the circumstance, I know I am not alone.

I have learned that it is in my lowest moments that I have found my strength. In fact, sometimes all the strength I need is to be able to “draw” for a piece of paper and write a gratitude list. I remind myself, through the tears, that blessings and favour are new every morning. I have to stop and smile, when I think that no matter what I am going through, life is still going on around me. How dare it! However, optimism causes me to be grateful that life goes on and I will laugh again. What did Orphan Annie sing?

“When I'm stuck with a day

That's grey

And lonely

I just stick out my chin

And grin

And say

Oh!

The sun'll come out

Tomorrow.”

I am pleased to say that I have tried and failed many times. Yes! That simply means that I have been busy living. I know I will survive and thrive. Regardless of how far I feel I have fallen, I can rise and go on my knees and pray.

To be clear, optimism is not skipping through the meadows blissfully unaware. It takes courage, it requires fortitude; it is an unwillingness to give in! I choose to silence doubt and fear. I refuse to surrender. I choose always to envision that glimmer of light in the darkness and to pursue it…and I may just sing and skip while pursuing it. In other words I don't hear No, I hear that you are thinking about it. I don't see a closed door, I see a chance to create a new door. I cling relentlessly to hope and step out in my high heels of faith and look on the challenge and ask it “You know say a me name Rochy! Step aside, you are blocking my light!”

It is clear that my life is a Broadway soundtrack, so I will end as I have started, with the Sound of Music:

When the dog bites, when the bee stings,

when I'm feeling sad,

I simply remember my favourite things,

and then I don't feel so bad.

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