Many years ago, feeling let down by a sudden change of plans, I emphatically said to a friend, “I hate disappointment!”
His response was “Really? I think most people love it,” and his sarcasm put me in my place with the realisation that of course no one likes to be disappointed.
Still, I felt that disappointments and let downs hit me particularly hard. Why is that?
I think one of the keys is how much I can relate to this quote from Anne of Green Gables: “You set your heart too much on frivolous things and then crash down in despair when you don’t get them.”
Even now, well into adulthood, I frequently find myself “flying up on the wings of anticipation,” grasping for things that I think will make me happy, risking and fearing the crash of disappointment.
Today I am reminded, however, that while disappointment is a part of life, it would be greatly diminished if I were finding my joy and security in the One who does not disappoint. If, instead of chasing after frivolous things, I am abiding in Christ, disappointment will not overwhelm me. I would rest with confidence in the deep knowledge that in his love for me, he is working all things for good.
Have you ever destroyed something before you even got to use it? I have.
The other day I bought a new outfit. It was something a bit different, that I wouldn’t normally buy, but it was heavily reduced. And, let’s be honest, it looked pretty good on me. Virtually the instant I put in on in the change room it was sold. I imagined wearing it to parent-teacher interviews at work, and to church on Sunday. My vanity was probably getting the better of me.
I was so excited about the outfit that it was a talking point that night when I went out for dinner with friends.
Sunday morning I got ready for Church and went to iron my new outfit before I left. I turned the iron’s temperature down, but didn’t wait for it to cool. I didn’t think it needed to. The iron was on the garment for all of two seconds and it was ruined. As I lifted the iron away, a big piece of fabric lifted too, leaving a crusty, melted hole.
For a minute I considered crying. I thought of going back to my room and not bothering to go to church. But then I remembered: ‘Sarah, it’s just stuff!’ How often have I let myself become consumed with things that are just things? I put on a different outfit, and went to church, acknowledging to God ruefully that He had likely saved me from my vanity.
I usually don’t travel during the school year because my health is too fragile to risk anything that could interfere with work. But this year, seeing photos of friends travelling through sunny Europe as I was sitting in South Australia feeling cold, I was itching to find somewhere warm to relax.
So I booked my trip to Cairns, imagining posting my own enviable facebook pics of blue skies, sun and ocean.
When we arrived it was raining and it hardly stopped. I think I got more rain in three days of Cairns’ ‘dry season’, than I’ve had all year in SA. We didn’t see a single beach and thoughts of going out to the Great Barrier Reef were squelched due to ‘unseasonably bad weather.’ On top of that, my body reminded me continually that I’m exhausted from the end of term and that CFS has stolen my right to be a good traveler.
I felt like a fool having bragged that I’d be posting photos of a gloriously enviable summer, and to rub salt in the wound, SA had unseasonably warm weather this week. While I was sitting in a wet cloud, they were having days of sunshine and blue skies, and some of my facebook friends actually posted pictures of themselves at the beach! In July!
As I sat on my bed on our final night, listening to the thunderous pelting of the rain on the tin roof, my phone chimed. I looked at the weather notification. “Warning: Cairns. Chance of showers.”