I am, and always have been, quite a bit of an optimist. Now, in this day and age it is incredibly hard to maintain such a positive outlook when there is so much crap going on in the world, and it is relatively easy to become aware of it. There's an awful lot of world suck, and sometimes it feels wrong to believe things Get Better when, for some, or for many, they may not. Yet I still hold that belief.
I had meant to write this earlier, about a week ago, but lj was down and things were happening so I'm just getting around to it. But I still wanted to get it out. Last week something happened, you see. One of those brilliant moments that us optimistic folk treasure because, every once in a while, we are proven right.
I suppose I should explain something of my views on the matter first. I believe things happen that can be termed mircales. I do not believe in waiting for them. I believe in doing the best you can with what you have, and if you do that it will be enough. Maybe not great, but it will be enough to endure, to survive, and to my way of thinking that counts for a lot. My philosophy is that the universe will give us what we need. The trick, of course, is learning what those things are, and how to make the greatest use of them. You learn to live with the tools you have, that surviving and being able to pick one's head up every morning and not loose all of oneself to despair is actually quite a lot. One day I'll figure out how to word that better. But the key words are survive and endure, in the face of hardship, in the face of perhaps impossible odds. It is not the 'everything is all good and will only ever improve' kind of optimism, but rather the 'if you're willing to put some effort into living you will get what you need to live' kind. Maybe that shouldn't be called optimism. It's more an optimistic realism, I suppose. I don't claim things will always be wonderful. What I believe is that things will always be okay, and, sometimes, they can be good. Bad things get better, or at least tolerable.
So. Back to the story. A friend of mine (from tumblr, not that that's especially relevant) has been having a very rough time, for a number of reasons that pile up into one big mess. One of those reasons is that he is very independant and maybe a little bit proud. He doesn't identify with lions for nothing. But he's the kind of person who really needs to do things for himself, and part of why his current situation is very hard is that he's really not in a position to get things, the things he really needs, on his own. He's also the kind of person who needs to know he has support, and his blood-related family hasn't really done a whole lot for him. Last week, he did something incredibly hard, which was to ask for help. Now, I know we all can say there's nothing wrong with needing help, that there shouldn't be shame in asking for it, but there is and it's not easy, for anyone. And for some people, it just really isn't in their makeup, it's not who they are. My friend is one of those people, yet he gathered his courage and swallowed his pride and he did it.
The initial start was a bit slow, but then. Oh, but then. Within the course of 24 hours, he got what he needed, actually got more than he needed. 24 hours. Now, it's true, he is one person, and there are many that need help. But part of what made it so significant to me was, first that he's a friend and so I care, but the day before I had sent him a message that had a line like this: "I refuse to believe the universe is so badly designed as to let you down in this, this thing which is so crucial for you." And then, in a great show of the power of what friends can do, I was proven right. Within a day. I had meant it in the sense of 'It will take time, but hang in there because it will be okay', not this wonderful explosion of willingness to help. But for an optimist, maintaining a face of faith in the universe, in a world where things often go wrong, it feels good to be proven right sometimes.
Is everything suddenly fixed? No. But it was a step on that long road to making things okay, and it's these moments, these shining, warmly glowing threads of time that you can hold onto and look back at to make the next steps a little easier, that keep you moving forward. And that's what matters.