Too good can be true in love, so why not politics?

by Kristin on October 6, 2008

in Belief, doubt & hope,Culture, ideas & paradigms

This wasn’t the first morning I’ve thought it: We really need to switch our alarm clock from the radio to a simple buzzer. A buzzer, after all, just says “get up.” Nothing more, nothing less. NPR always says a lot more. Especially these days. Not only is it tough to get out of bed when you’re engrossed in the news, but there’s a lot of news lately that seems to do a number on my blood pressure. Yes, even a fog horn would be less jarring than some of what we’ve been waking up to. I need coffee before I can deal with news.

Our wakeup call today was a voter in Pennsylvania saying this: “Barack Obama seems too good to be true. He has the right answer for everything. It scares me.” And what’s the best antidote to fear? Apparently playing it safe and sticking with what’s familiar.

But I don’t want to write about politics this morning (in spite of my shameless visual plug at the top of this post). I want to write about the idea of something being “too good to be true.” I totally get where this impulse comes from. We’ve all been hurt. We’ve been burned. We assume (and too often, we assume rightly) that people are only looking out for their own best interests, not ours. Our defenses are up.

So when we get a “special offer” from a phone company in the mail, we know there must be hidden charges. When we get an email, as my father-in-law did, that says “I want to give you $500,000 but I just need you to wire me a $100 ‘Security Keeping Fee,’” we really know it’s too good to be true. (Even this added bit of assurance couldn’t convince him: “For your information, I have paid for the delivering Charge, Insurance premium and Clearance Certificate Fee of the Cheque showing that it is not a Drug Money or meant to sponsor Terrorist attack in your Country.” Nice. I’ll send that Security Keeping Fee right over.)

Some suspicion is healthy. We’re wired this way for a reason. But the thought of someone not voting for Obama because he seems too good? Nothing strikes me as more sad, more hopeless. We are a nation of people in desperate need of some faith. George Michael had a hit song back in the 80s about how he’s “gotta have faith,” but I think the Bible explains it better, whether you apply it to a faith in God or something else: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).” Doesn’t that sound exactly like what we’re lacking in this time of uncertainty—a clear vision of what we hope for, even if we can’t see it?

All of this has made me think about the time I felt most hopeless in my life, after my divorce. I couldn’t even envision what kind of life I wanted, let alone imagine myself grasping such a life. I had no vision, which means I had no hope.

But then something “too good to be true” came along: My house. After looking at smaller, less desirable, more expensive homes in the neighborhood and deciding I wasn’t going to be able to afford a house I would really love on a single-mom’s freelance salary, this house virtually fell into my lap. I wrote about it in the post “A turning point with a street address.” Too good to be true? Apparently not. We’ve lived here three years now. The house is still standing, the furnace is working, the roof and basement are dry, and we have wonderful neighbors.

Shortly after I bought the house, someone “too good to be true” came into my life. When Jason and I met, I was just beginning to form a vision of what I hoped for (and even drafted a hypothetical singles ad in my head, which you can read in the post “Love in unexpected places”). I had no faith, however, that such a man could exist—certainly not in my small town, and unmarried, too. But he did. He does (although now he’s married). He’s too good and he’s true.

I could have let suspicion and fear rule my heart. I could have walked away from Jason in an effort to protect myself. But I believe there’s nothing in life more worth the risk than this: the hope of something too good to be true, being true. Can we all just go out on a limb a bit, for the hope of something better?

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  • Dad Berg

    Thanks Kristin for sharing yourself. This brought tears of joy to my eyes. You are too good to be true.

  • DaNae

    Kristin, I have enjoyed your blog so much ( and this is from a very “so so” blogger by the way! I have a hard time keeping up with my New Zealand updates!) I just had to tell you that this entry really spoke to me and I needed to read it, thank you. 2 years ago I found myself in a place of needing to “re-define” myself, I was lost and how does one start over? I’m still working on that, but by the Grace of God every day can be a new beginning if I choose it to be so. It is easy to be cautious and to keep up defensive, it takes work, choice and a whole lot of faith to be hopeful and to pick up one foot and keep putting it in front of the other. Thank you for the reminder of that in this post. I am glad for a reconnection, even if it is electronic at this point, with you. I know we are very different people then the ones we knew in college, but I am thankful for a glimpse into your life.
    much love, DaNae

  • Mom (Mary)

    Thank you Kristin. I am always surprised at the amount of love our hearts can hold when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable. When you think you could not possibly love any more, God brings someone else into you life and WA LA you love them too. It is wonderful when you reach a point in your life when you find out that Life is not “to good to be true” it is what you make of it. Like when your adult children not only become your friends but also your brother’s & sister’s in Christ.
    With love from my heart to yours.

  • Elaine Tolsma-Harlow

    I’ve been thinking about this post for the last couple days & I also read DaNae’s post with great interest. Ironically, I have been talking to someone else about hope in the future lately so I found this to be helpful. It is hard to have hope when you loose focus & vision when you live with a chronic illness. I have felt beat up too often to jump back up and be filled with hope. I think somedays I’m more wary than hopeful (a dangerous place to be). I do want to add that when you turn everything to God it becomes less about us & more about Him & that helps in being hopeful and regaining focus. Thank you for your well timed post.