Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Reason for Disappointment Summed up in One Word.

"You know why it bothered you, don't you?"
my friend asked.

Her voice on the phone promised an answer,
one I was curious to hear.
Had she come upon some secret that I had missed til now?

"Expectations," she said.
"You had expectations of what would happen;
you expected it to be different."

It was so simple,

too simple,
and definitely not what I wanted to hear.

Blame would be much more comforting;
pity would offer temporary condolence;
but disappointed expectations?

"If you don't expect anything,
you won't ever be disappointed."
I could feel the conflicting humor in her truth.
It was what I needed to hear and as a true friend, she knew that.
It woke me from my self and stirred my thoughts.

It is the way of expectations.

Violet put 30 eggs under the duck who was feeling broody and had decided to nest.

It hadn't started out that way.
There had been a dozen or so,
but she wanted more ducklings and chickens and saw the sitting duck as an opportunity for more.

Nothing hatched.
All of the eggs had to be thrown out because double-decker eggs in a nest cannot get the proper attention, heat, humidity that they need;
or so found out that momma duck, spread as wide as she could get herself to go
with no tiny chirping to reward her patience.

Violet expected that more would be better,
the apple didn't fall far from her mother's tree;

but contentment with enough is far better than the emptiness of unnecessary more.

I sent a book to a literary agent.
I had written and rewritten it 2 dozen times til I thought it was good.
I had spent months working on a few possible illustrations for it,
hoping they were good enough.

I have heard the stories, taken to heart the warnings of rejections,
but when my answer,
 "Not unique enough,"
 came for something I had put so much of my heart into,
the expectation crashed hard;
the hurt and tears were more than I expected...
because I had expected rejection,
but just not the intensity of the pain of it.


Two years ago I made the garden and planted a few of them.
Two years I have watched them, watered them, weeded them, spread their trailing vines to increase their numbers.

We had a few samplings last season, but the increase of flowers and drooping green fruit this year has not gone unnoticed.
Daily I visit that small patch of garden,
admiring the growing fruit that those plants have in their possibilities.

Not to have expectations would be to take the soul out of the work.
All of it has been done to cater to great expectations.
I don't expect a crop failure, but it very well could come.
The chipmunks may come back;
the squirrels may decide to tear out the bushes in search of whatever it is they recklessly decide to dig for;
the chickens may discover the taste of juicy redness;
my 4 year old (who seems to be going through a stage of terrorizing my expectations) may execute her sense of undercover mischief and gobble up the whole patch when it sits just nearing it's prime.

I know the answer I hear on the phone is right.
I know I have to give my expectations to God and take whatever comes,
good or bad.
I know that trials increase faith,
that rejections and disappointments can be the stepping stones to better attempts,
modified goals,
sweeter fruit.

I am just hoping that this patch will avoid calamity and bring fullness of joy:
 because sometimes expectations are fulfilled,
and those times are sweet happiness.

 Deep inside, when the issues are weighed, the truth is:
without occasional disappointed expectations,
the hatching of a dozen ducklings wouldn't seem enough,
the long-awaited title across the front of a book wouldn't be as graciously humbling,
the berries from an anticipated patch wouldn't taste as sweet,
gratitude wouldn't have a chance to blossom...

because isn't that the way we seem to work?

It certainly seems to be the way I do.

I'll tell you for sure when I eat some strawberry shortcake,
because like it or not,
I just can't seem to keep those juicy red fruits out of my dreams.


  1. Wonderful, wise words. And so good to see you here sharing them with us again…


  2. I found your blog through Wise Woman Builds Her Home. I love this post. It speaks to contentment and how to deal with 'failed' expectations - and you are right, we can't just live life in apathy with no expectations to protect ourselves! It 'takes the soul out of work'. I wrote about contentment as well, in this post: Thanks for your post, it was encouraging!


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