In the movie Second Hand Lions, one of the main characters, Hub, gives a young boy part of his “becoming a man” speech:
“ Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most. That people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil; and I want you to remember this, that love… true love never dies. You remember that, boy. You remember that. Doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. You see, a man should believe in those things, because those are the things worth believing in.”
We need faith. As I enter the Christmas season, I decided it was time to revive my own faith and begin my blogs again. I’ve struggled to express what Christmas is. If you follow the Christian tradition it is about the birth of Jesus. Others will tell you it’s commercialism. I remember the magic of Santa Claus. I remember magic- the idea that there was mystery and goodness in the world. The carols and songs are filled with hope, the themes of movies and cartoons are all about love and what matters most. Many themes are about the importance of relationship and goodness over material possessions. Over and over again these age old themes are revived in movies and cartoons about Christmas. Why? Because they strike a timeless cord in our hearts. The Christmas season can be a time to remind us of what is really important and remind us that magic still exists. We need faith. The bible says that hope deferred makes the heart sick, but I say that a lack of hope will kill it. The bible also says that faith is the evidence of things unseen. Sometimes it is the tangible part of the unseen world.
Many studies have noted the positive outcomes of optimism over pessimism, but several studies have also indicated that pessimists make more accurate assessments than optimists. The irony is that if the other studies are to be believed, this accuracy really doesn’t provide much advantage. To those who say they aren’t pessimists but realists, well that may be one in the same. And it may be the single biggest obstacle to optimism and faith- the need to hold on to accuracy at all costs. There is a 12.3% chance, according to national statics, that you will be injured or poisoned this year. Over 177,000 people died due to injury. The statics go on; it is realistic and accurate to think about the possibility of being a statistic. There is a chance of something bad happening every moment of every day, but we can’t live that way. At what point do we choose optimism, when do we choose faith?
Hub touches on something deep and almost unfathomable, that it’s not truth or reality that dictates what we should believe but rather the value of the thing that we place our faith in. There are things we must believe because they are worth believing in, no evidence or reassurance required. A simple tenacious faith is needed in life again which I think has been lost by many. In many ways my endeavor has been to unlearn what experience has taught me and go back to that time as a child when I had true faith. It is our faith that is the evidence, it is our faith that fans the flames of hope and brings to reality those things that should otherwise be impossible. It colors our lives in a way that nothing else could and we are left truly living rather than existing. Reality is over-rated, cautiousness over-used and guardedness simply tragic.