Failing, failing, failing

Every time I turn around, there’s another obstacle to restoring adequate library services in Wareham. Lack of money, lack of political awareness and will, lack of leadership and vision -take your pick, they’ve all played a part. I’m not optimistic about the situation because there’s no indication that things will turn out well if everything keeps going the way it’s going now. Optimism is limited by circumstance. That doesn’t mean it will all end in tears.

Our business in this world is not to succeed, but to continue to fail, in good spirits.

 Robert Louis Stevenson

[Daily Peace, Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 2015, March 1]

I don’t think this is about cheerily accepting the demise of hopes and dreams, or standing by while the world goes to hell in a hand basket; this is about the difference between optimism and hope. Hope doesn’t rely on present circumstance: it’s a trust in the grace and justice that knits the universe together, and that will eventually/slowly/painstakingly bring about a compassionate world. Love conquers all, it’s true – or it will be true in the end. The glorious failures of my efforts and in my time are steps in the right direction, even when the end is nowhere to be seen. Continuing to put one foot in front of the other becomes possible, even a blessing, when I do so in good spirits.

And now faith,hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. I Corinthians 13:13

 

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Johnna

I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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