The thin line between hope and doubt

El Juglador and I are having a discussion today, contemplating music and the sun, when I realize I’ll never remember what he’s saying in the exact way it is said. So I whip out my laptop and write down what’s being channeled. It’s different than what we were discussing just a minute before.

“To be critical, without hope, is cynicism. To be hopeful without cynicism, is to be naïve.”

My teacher’s comment makes me freeze. I call myself a Polyanna, always looking out for the positive in any situation. Is he saying I’m naïve? No. He’s not judging, he’s channeling. And it’s meant to make me think, to help me identify something about myself.

I’ve always tried to see all sides of any situation, not just positive and negative, rather every degree of the truth. I realize now that there’s a certain paradox involved in the phrase, “look at the bright side of life.” I mean, how do you know the bright side if you never see the dark? Studying the lesson, I question my existence, my reality, my truth.

Sure, we see shadows, but do we understand? Shadows are always placed near the light, and so we’re told, yet again, to look at the bright side, not the dark. If we look toward the dark, others may think we are appreciating Satan, the being many tie to the dark.

I wonder. What if the being we call Satan has no power save the power we allow the shadows to cast on our lives? What if we do not allow the dark to show, to teach us?

I consider now, as Teacher plays his music in the room adjacent to where I write, what part the shadows play in my Polyanna life. In Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, Socrates suggests his student consider a cave where people have been chained, their heads positioned in such a way that the only thing they can see is the wall in front of them. Behind them, a world exists and a light casts those shadows on the wall, which the inhabitants of the cave consider their reality. Their lives, therefore, are lived among shadows because they cannot face the light.

I like to think I have been freed from the chains. I keep my face toward the sun; however, my eyes are usually closed, as I cannot, for too long, look directly at the big guy in the sky. In a way, I am looking at the bright side of life, but a part of me remembers the shadows and forces me to acknowledge the possible outcomes. I call that the part of me that is full of doubt. Actually, it’s my cynicism.

So, back to Teacher’s comment.

“To be critical, without hope, is cynicism. To be hopeful without cynicism, is to be naïve.”

Because I have questions and doubt, I am allowing myself to see and appreciate the shadows. And I choose to accept the reality of the light in the cave that is my reality, not the shadows that try to fool me.

I notice now that I am more in the state of appreciation when I’m walking toward the sun, head held high, chest up, and feeling glad to be alive, hopefully making the Creator glad that He/She created a being so grateful to have been created.

The moth tries to hide the color. He fails, though.

I’m also thinking about all of the shadows that I’m proud to be ashamed of, those shadows that have brought me to this point. I stand, shoulders back, chin up, knowing that I am not flying blind when I allow the cynicism I call doubt to flutter its dark, moth-like wings past my rainbow of reality. The shadow is brief, but hope is strong in me.

Again, Teacher reminds me, “to be critical, without hope, is cynicism. To be hopeful without cynicism, is to be naïve.”

I like hope. I like hope a lot. But I will not be blinded by the light and forget to appreciate the shadows I helped that Light cast behind me. Those are my lessons that are the scaffolding leading me to the truth. Today’s lesson: That thin line between hope and doubt is the ability to see past the cynicism to find the Truth in the Light.

And as the music continues playing from his flute, I remember the phrase that launched this discussion with us, “’Melody has power a whole world to transform.’ Forever, music will remain the universal language of men, angels, and the Holy Spirit. Harmony is the speech of Havona (Heaven.)” (The Book of Urantia, Paper 44.)

Until the next lesson, my friends.

All my love,

The Dragonfly’s Student


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