“Everything’s gonna be totally fine.”
— Keith Stone
A couple years ago Keystone Light ran a series of ads featuring a creepy but self-assured fellow with flowing locks named Keith Stone. In one of the ads, Stone sees a crying bride in a convenience store making a call on a payphone. With his comically large stick of beef jerky, he hangs up the payphone and ever so smoothly dials the phone to speak with the distressed bride.
A case of KL’s under his arm, he reassures the woman with deceptively profound words: “Everything’s gonna be totally fine.”
Of course this is a ridiculous commercial meant to sell cheap beer. Yet how many of us can honestly say that we can match the optimism, confidence, or perspective of Mr. Stone? How many of us live our day-to-day lives in the hope and full expectation that everything really is going to be just fine no matter what happens? And if we do feel hopeful today, what is it that hope based on? (Hopefully not Keystone Light).
Here in America, we are worriers. We worry about money, elections, Fiscal Cliffs, regular cliffs, health, crime, dwindling natural resources, our sports teams, our kids, success/failure, jobs, our legacies, hair, the future, relationships, clothes, germs, the afterlife, TV shows getting cancelled (what is happening to Community?!), etc.
These are just a few of the things I spent time worrying about this morning.
We are anxiety-ridden creatures who tend to look for things to worry about instead of looking for reasons to be hopeful. Part of this is “Mo Money/Technology/Comforts, Mo Problems” but ultimately we worry because we lack faith, we lack perspective, and we put our hope in the wrong things (Keystone Light, etc.).
Of course it’s easier said than done to not freak out about the future and have hope that everything’s gonna be totally fine. Just in the last month millions of people have had their lives turned upside down by storms, violence and who knows what other kind of terror or massive disappointment.
When times get hard, we quickly find out how much of our hope for the future hinges on our bank account, our house, or other stuff.
Unfortunately, having hope for the future and trying to not worry are pretty abstract. These aren’t measurable things we can hold and summon on command. It’s not like we can just make up our minds to not worry anymore. It takes work. It’s an integral part of “leading a lifestyle of repentance,” as my friend Brad puts it. I take this to mean that hope is something we have to work toward each day, as opposed to a thing we just somehow acquire and that’s it.
The hope we’re all looking for is not some vapid, vague sense that everything will somehow work out. It’s not a Jimmy Buffet carefree-mindset or a positive thinking exercise. Temporal, fleeting hope isn’t that great. We all want the kind of hope that is still meaningful and endures when storms come or things get taken from us.
Personally, I’ve found that real, lasting hope – the kind that gives people the confidence to genuinely trust everything will be made right regardless of current circumstances – comes from God and God alone. Not real sure how that happens, what it will look like or how it all shakes out in the end, but I do have hope that it will make sense.
I’m grateful to Keith Stone and the good folks at Keystone Light for this smooth reminder today.