Thursday, April 26, 2012

That Saved A Realist Like Me

{By Hailey Sadler}

The whole “is-the-glass-half-empty-or-half-full” dilemma sort of confused me as a child. When posed with it, I would always answer “half full” because that seemed to be the right answer. Anyway it seemed like the better, happier option compared to being labeled a pessimist, which always conjured up images of wet blankets and bitter old men. Secretly, though, my water-in-the-cup philosophy is more along the lines of, Ok, we’ve established that there is water in a cup, now can we please move on??


I guess I could be considered somewhat of a realist.


An interesting term, “realist” usually just means a cynic or pessimist who enjoys patting themselves on the back for the pleasing ability to accurately perceive objective reality. Poor, deluded optimists and idealists, they sniff. Yes, realists can be really obnoxious [see picture to the right!]. But that is not the point. The point is they are right. Reality is depressing, and if you view the world from a realist perspective you quickly become closely akin to the cynic and the pessimist for that very reason. Because what is reality? Reality is truth.

And the truth of our world does not tend towards the encouragement of optimism.

The truth is Americans who are obese [approximately 1 in 3 children in the U.S. are obese] and Nigerians who are malnourished [there are 5.75 million underweight children in Nigeria]; the truth is sickening injustices that create multitudes of “causes” and less action, chaos and turmoil, governmental abuse, corruption, economic uncertainty. The truth is culture that is seriously messed up in so many ways. It’s a world where the GDP of the 48 poorest nations is less than the combined wealth of the world’s 3 richest people. It’s a world of red lights when you want to text and Facebook statuses that make you want to cry (or gag) because of the sheer narcissism. As Big Daddy from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof would say, “The truth is pain and sweat and payin’ bills…. Truth is dreams that don’t come true, and nobody prints your name in the paper ‘til you die.”

If that was all there is to it, I think my tendency towards “realism” would make me want to pour a pack of Kool-Aid in that half-full-half-empty glass and be done with it.

But that is only one dimension of reality.

Because what is reality? Reality is Truth. Truth is the thread weaving this tangled mess we call reality into a perfect product God calls His plan. The Truth is that there is something higher than this world, bigger than all the evil, greater than ourselves, something we only snatch glimpses of, a breath of light when the clouds shift, and parting, for a moment we catch sight of heaven. It is the reality of a higher reality: God Who sees purpose where we see only pointless pain, God Who wrote the end of the story for us all to read, and Who is coming back. For us.

It is that that makes the stark circumstances of this world around me bearable. Even more than that, it makes life fully worth living, if only to catch those occasional glimpses of that higher reality, higher Truth that dovetails and completes the truth we know and weaves us all together – pessimist, realist, optimist, idealist – in His incomprehensively perfect plan. 

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. 


10 comments:

  1. Ugh. This post is me in a nutshell, Hailey! I love how you brought in the truth of the Gospel. Because, really, many of the books in the Bible are quite pessimistic and "realistic", but it's balanced out by the ever-hopeful truth of the Gospel! :)
    I do think you need accept my philosophy, though. "The glass is half-empty, but it can be refilled." ;)

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    1. Haha I love your philosophy, Rachel ;) Thanks for reading and for your thoughts!

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  2. I love this, Hailey: "truth is the thread weaving this tangled mess we call reality into a perfect product God calls His plan."

    Though usually considered an 'optimist' in that ultimately I believe everything turns out for good, I believe so because of the Reality of God. His is the only Reality that is finite and unchanging; the Reality of the world is not. God's grace has in many ways dismissed my fears about Reality, while making it possible for me to be an instrument of change to shape it. Where the Reality of the world and humanity fails to lend itself to the encouragement of optimism, the surprise and majesty of God succeeds.

    There should be a category called Truth-ist because while Reality can be subjective and limited based on the perspective of the person viewing it, Truth never is. You, my friend, seem to be a Truth-ist :)

    ~Katie T

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    1. "God's grace has in many ways dismissed my fears about Reality, while making it possible for me to be an instrument of change to shape it." What fantastic perspective. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, Katie.

      And I agree - there totally should be a category for Truth-ists!! "Because while Reality can be subjective and limited based on the perspective of the person viewing it, Truth never is." I love that. I'm definitely going to say I'm a Truth-ist from now on :)

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  3. That is one thing that I've dealt with for a lot of my life; I am a self-labeled pessimistic realist. Whenever I start to drift away from God, I start to become quite nihilistic--not an overly fun thing.

    Thank you for this great reminder of the truth!

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    1. I can definitely relate, Michael. I think it's interesting how you can trace it back to the times when you are drifting from God... it's like the less in tune I am with the Truth of His Reality, the heavier the realities of this world weigh on me...

      Thanks for your thoughts!

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  4. “The more logical secular man is, the closer he comes to the pronouncements God has made in his Word and proves what God has already said. The more illogical he is, the further he runs from establishing that corroboration.” - Ravi Zacharias

    /Interesting perspective for the realists among us who pride themselves in the logic of their framework.

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    1. Nice- I really like that quote. Logic is a good thing. Thanks, mr. anon :)

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