There is a fly in the buttermilk of disappointments. All of us at one time or another have put it there. By doing so, we set ourselves up for a jolt and a period of frustration that could have been avoided. I am referring to the “disease-carrying fly” of expectations.

Stop and think it over. What causes you to experience disappointment?  Perhaps you had it all set up in your mind how a certain situation would unfold or how a person was going to respond. However, it never materialized. Your wish fell fast and hard against stone-cold reality. Your desire dissolved into an empty, unfulfilled dream.

Have you ever set yourself up for heart breaking disappointment?  I have.  Do any of the situations below sound painfully similar to your story?

  • I am not happy with this job. When I got the job, I never realized it would be like this.
  • My marriage has become a drag. On our wedding day I thought it would all be so different. It is nothing like I imagined it would be.
  • She was once a friend of mine. I reached out, helped her, loved her and gave myself to her. I thought the least she would do was respond the same way to me.

We need to take an honest look at this painful thorn that distorts our vision and creates disappointment, that I call expectation. The images we have constructed in our minds are rigid, leaving no room on the part of the other person for any flexibility to change or have a different reaction.

The result is tragic. As our circle of tolerance is reduced, our willingness to accept others’ imperfections or a less-than-ideal circumstance is short-circuited. And, worst of all, a wonderful loving, caring, and compassionate friendship is strained. The chain of obligation, built with the links of expectation, binds us in the cold darkness of disappointment.

We need to give one another stretching space and the room to respond and react in a variety of ways. We need to stop anticipating the ideal and start living with the real which is always checkered with failure and imperfection. Instead of biting and devouring one another, let us support individual freedom as we serve one another. Love is the only way I know to kill the flies that spread the disease of disappointment.  Too high expectation is a recipe for disappointment, so never give up, never give up, never give up.

Chaplain Walter Ghosten

By Chaplain Ghosten

chaplain@lhp.net

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