Tag Archive: disappointment

Links for This Week

This last week, I’ve been pretty busy working outside, playing with my sisters, and painting hope onto my wall. In other words, I’ve slacked off and not written a post, but it’s all good. I’ve been meaning to put up a post recommending another blog. In the last week, Kari provided some great posts, and I definitely think her work is worth reading.

For a little background, I found her blog on Facebook. Half my lifetime ago, Kari and I went to the same rural church. Since it was small and relationally oriented, everybody knew everybody. We were a community. The church attended services together, ate together, worshiped together, worked together, had retreats and Family Camps and weddings and all kinds of stuff. It was really a great church in a lot of ways, so for me, it was fun, 10 or 15 years later, to see that Kari had been keeping a blog. It was even better to read it and see that she definitely still loves God. I always love to see that! She writes about faith a lot, and when she’s not writing about that, she often writes about some practical ways to keep a house and live more frugally.

This week, she wrote a series of posts dealing with the dreadful “d” of disappointment. The first is called “When the road is long.” Kari shares some thoughts about disappointments which last a long time. The second is called “When no one understands.” It’s an interesting thought. I hadn’t considered how disappointing it can be to not be understood. The third is “When you must be silent,” and she talks about the difficulty imposed by silence. That’s one I do understand. Not being able to talk about things can just swell your throat shut so that the time comes that it would be okay to talk, you can’t. Come to think of it, that right there is pretty disappointing.

One thing I would mention about disappointment is that it can be quite the thief. It will steal hope from your heart if you let it.

Following those three posts identifying some types of disappointment, Kari wrote a great post about expectations titled “What to expect when you’re expecting…” I love this one. There’s truth in it, truth that can help point a person to God and make them aware of their need for Him. Look at this!

So what should we expect?

Opposition. Persecution. Obstacles. Suffering. Trials. Conflict. Hardship. Storms. But most of all …

Except to see and encounter Him in the midst of it all.

He is found in the midst of the storm, the suffering, the obstacle. When we run from those things,  we run from Him. He is there.

I expect to face these things, and I expect to see His face there.

That’s what I can expect.

I love this, not because the idea of being used as a punching bag sounds like fun, but because God doesn’t leave me. Because God is there. Because God works things out for good. Because even death can’t beat Him. Life is not a soft, fluffy, sweet teddy bear on which we can land without the least concern. Bad things, hard things, painful things – they all happen, and they happen without regard for my wickedness or righteousness, my foolishness or my wisdom, my poverty or my wealth, or any number of other things. We can’t control much of what happens. In the middle of it all, in the good and the bad, God is there. I sleep better at night because of that.

Have a good one!

Can of Worms

The best thing about having a can of worms is that you can use the worms as bait and go fishing. Fish like worms, I hear. I’m not much into fishing (seems a chilly sport, and my hands spend enough time blue without that kind of help – friends like that, who needs enemies, hey?), but metaphorically speaking, I’m going to pop open that disappointing can of worms and see what sort of fish I can catch.

As I confessed in my last post, I eventually experienced disappointment with love. Disappointment is an interesting emotion in that it’s not inherently bad or good (I don’t believe), but it is a feeling that, when experienced, will produce actions that tell you a lot about the person experiencing it. Disappointment can tell you a lot about a person’s fears and hopes. It will shove you into action and can demonstrate pretty fast what motivates you. What do you do with disappointment?

Well, shoot, silly! I have no idea what you do with your disappointment, and I’m not writing about you, anyways.  This is my blog, and it’s all about ME! Shoo, shoo! Mwahahaha! Kidding! Sort of – I really don’t know how you handle disappointment, so I have absolutely no business trying to write about it. Guess I’d best stick with my own life and share what I’ve done and (I hope) what I’ve learned from the experience.

Expectations – that is what I forgot to mention previously about disappointment. If I am feeling disappointed, I had expectations that did not get met. It might even be stronger than expectations. I might be dealing with disappointed hope or threatened belief. That seems pretty self evident, doesn’t it? I have to say that for me, it’s not that easy. Looking at myself and examining that disappointment is not easy. Ha! Easy looks like skipping straight past go, collecting my 200 bucks, and dwelling on the wrongs that have been done to me. I don’t default to wanting to examine myself. I want to be fried, cranky, grumpy, pouty, and all pissy that I’m not getting what I want!

That’s exactly what I did when my experience with love conclusively demonstrated that my expectation of “happily ever after” wasn’t going to be met. My attitude, fueled by disappointed expectations, went from an uncertainty about being loved by God to a defiant certainty that being loved by Him did not matter. After all, what good did the love of God do for me? I had seen what looked like heaven and gotten slapped with my inability to reach it. My life had gotten harder. I was disappointed. I felt cheated. I was afraid. Therefore, I did what came easily – self protection. I got angry, and I passionately hurled my indifference at God. “So what if You love me? So what? I don’t care!”

That was a lie. I did care. I cared a lot. I did not want to care, but I cared so much that even as I ranted and railed and quivered deep within my prickles, I still gave myself away. I would scream at God about my own frustration, and then turn around and utter deeply caring prayers for others.

Thing is that I was wrong. I know I said that before, but it bears repeating. I was wrong. I didn’t really know it, and I can’t say that I figured it out all on my own. Like I said, I felt cheated and so on. I felt like being loved by God was was like into a grocery aisle fart cloud, and it was annoying that He just kept loving me, but what I believed about the love of God and expected it to do for me made it inevitable that I would be disappointed. What I believed was wrong.

Despite my frustration, I kept reading the Bible and thinking over what I’d been reading. Did you know that God doesn’t say that life will be ponies and butterflies and rainbows??? No, He promises trials and tribulations – troubles! You know, challenges! You know, hardship. It slowly sank in past my prickliness and began to educate my heart about what would be an honest, informed, more mature expectation of God’s love. I needed that. Without it, I was certain to be continually experiencing a negative cycle of disappointment, one lacking in fish and rich in worms. I might not like to fish, but given a can of worms and choice, I’d much rather use the worms to catch fish for dinner than eat worms!

Let’s see if I can finish this up. I was disappointed. I’d allowed my disappointment to rocket me into a high flying and rotten attitude, but ultimately, that feeling did me a favor. It unmasked my misconceptions about God’s love and what God’s love would do for me. It unmistakably demonstrated that I was wrong and needed a course correction. Those mistaken perceptions were sitting under the surface, and in a case like this, what I didn’t know most certainly could hurt me. It’s not like they were in stasis or inert and therefore not affecting my life. No, they were something more like land mines (or, for an example closer to home, dog poop. Who hasn’t dealt with dog poop on a lawn at some point?), more or less quiescent and inoffensive until they got stepped on. Once they were  bothered, I got an explosion, be it of energy or stink, and a nasty mess with which to deal.

It is inevitable that those land mines of misconception will be stepped upon. Hey, man, sh… um, mess happens! When that happens, when disappointment and all its friends surface, I’d submit that skipping past go, picking up the $200,  and dwelling on the wrongs is not particularly profitable. It can feel better for a little while, but it does not seem to produce any resolution. I’d submit that more is going on inside myself than what was done to me, and that it may indeed be worth my while to stay put and do some soul searching with God. I’d submit that the experience of disappointment is actually a fishing opportunity, and that God can use it to feed my soul like few other things. I’d submit that disappointment can play an important role in the process of redemption and becoming more like Christ. It is NOT inevitable that the disappointments I experience in this life must needs to shove me away from the welcoming arms of Jesus. Rather, it is imperative that I refuse to be stampeded and allow God to redeem me there, to mature my faith.

What do you do with your disappointment? What do you believe about it, and because of your experience with it, what do you believe about God, yourself, and your community?

Happily Ever After

I was gone more than I expected to be last week, so I didn’t get a post up. Can’t really say that I’m sorry, though. I got to go visit my friend Steph, which was lots of fun. Then I spent Saturday making sure Carey got to her CBEST test. After the test was over, we went snooping all over the place. We had lunch at The Pink House in Independence. I can’t say I really liked the place. The food was decent (I had a nice, fresh salad), the service was less than fabulous, and the price was too high considering 1 and 2. It wasn’t terrible, but I would not be excited about going there again. Once we finished lunch, we found a used bookstore called Secondhand Books. We definitely had a good time in there. I found an old copy of a Doctor Dolittle book! Anyways, all the being gone was good, but it meant not much writing. I suppose I should plow back into my story!

There I was, in awe over the amazing love of God. I’d been so cynical about it, chalking it up as a fairy tale or a deal simply too good to be true. I’d strongly resisted accepting that “fantasy” as truth, which made the experience of acceptance all the more disarming. I was undone, and I have to say that “in awe” seems inadequate to explain how I reacted. Goodness, there’s only five letters in those two, little words to express my relief and excitement and joy and gratitude and sudden urge to drop to my knees in worship of this God Who loved me first. The biggest problem with dropping to my knees was that I couldn’t jump up and down. It was astounding. I was so happy, and I had lots of fun telling people about it. In fact, I’m having a lot of fun writing about it now. It’s been well over a decade, and I still feel a giddy rush from this memory.

You would think that, having fallen in love and accepted a rescue, and that having experienced the fantastic true love of God, this fairy tale of mine would progress to the age old line, “and she lived happily ever after.” It’s a good line, is it not? It’s how Bilbo wanted to end the story of his adventures, happily ever after. If I were writing my story, I’d like to end on such a happy, reunited note, because it seems like my story had reached a pinnacle there. It was really, really good.

But I’m not the Author, so my story progressed. It went on. I found out that love changed everything, but it changed nothing. It’s a riddle, love is. Just because I’d learned that love will love without its beloved (in this case, me!) being required to care doesn’t mean that I knew much of anything about love. That lesson changed everything but nothing. I didn’t wake up the next morning magically made by the power of love into a perfect person with a perfect life. I still had to work. I still had a family in shards. I still had a huge amount of personal brokenness. In the middle of my messy and difficult life, here comes love, and instead of a fluffy, soft “happily ever after,” it made my life harder.

Yes, harder. Sit with that for a moment. I’m saying that love made my life more difficult. Is that really the way it’s supposed to work? It doesn’t sound like a very good fairy tale or very happily ever after, but that is how it’s worked for me. Harder, because love changes everything, even though it changes nothing. Harder, because love opened a whole, new vista of challenge. I was loved. It was amazing, and it was an experience I wanted to share and to offer, but I did not know how to love other people. In fact, a lot of my life experience had taught me far more about the dark side of the Force, hate and fear. Harder, because hate and fear do not get along very well with love, and my soul got to live in the middle of their war. Love is not ponies and butterflies and rainbows all the time. Love did not instantly make my life easier.

In many ways, after my initial euphoria, love disappointed me. My disappointment was not good (matter of fact, it was dead wrong), but I did feel it, and it did motivate me. I think, though, I’ll leave that can of worms for my next post.