First, the good news. We all experience disappointments, so you’re not alone. And, they can be catalysts for positive change. The bad news? They hurt. And, if we internalize them instead of holding them with open hands, we can become bitter.
Here are some disappointments I’ve experienced, in ascending order of importance, which also correspond to my age. Maybe you can relate?
Never being allowed to get soda-pop with my childhood fast food meals
Returning from a walk around the block to discover my personal shell collection was “accidentally” sold at our garage sale
Having to practice piano
Giving up piano
Not being able to twirl a baton like my older cousin Dawn
Learning Gilligan never gets off the island
Not being old enough to hang out with my cousins during summer days on Lake Arrowhead in Gaylord
The painted-as-a-path elephant footprints going missing at The Detroit Zoo
Being the most gullible middle school girl at the volleyball team slumber party at our female coach’s home, stripping down to my birthday suit under a wool blanket for the ridiculous “You’re-In-A-Desert-Dying-Of-Heat-Exhaustion-And-Have-To-Take-Something-Off-To-Survive?” game (I think dear Marnie, of matchmaking status—see “Blazing Fire"—was present here also. Regardless, I’m guessing this game doesn’t get played anymore at official team parties. By the way, the right answer to the game is, take off the blanket, first.)
After four years of carefully sewing each of my many high school sports medals onto my varsity letter jacket, having a dear family member cut them all off in one fell swoop to display on a piece of felt at my graduation open house
Not telling on the 16-year-old neighbor boy who sexually molested me at age 11
Not being a very kind big sister, but instead a selfish teenage brat
At 15, being told by my father that I could not date a 19-year-old who broke my heart
At 21, forgetting to take my “birth control” pills two days before my wedding Using the sponge on my honeymoon (yes, Scott was truly “sponge-worthy”) and getting sick from not using it properly
Learning too late that “birth control” pills are likely abortifacient not just contraceptive (see this link) Wanting so badly to have natural births, but having our first two children by c-section Losing my amazing, strong, healthy father to brain cancer at age 66
These experiences go from light to heavy, for sure. More than just “disappointments”? Well, these experiences fit the following definitions I found:
sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one's hopes or expectations
put to shame/ashamed
confounded utterly dejected
Love prospers when a fault is forgiven - Proverbs 17:9
I’m so grateful that my parents taught me well, “in the way I should go”. From the very beginning, this foundational life training equipped me in myriad ways, including weathering sadness, shame, anger and dejection with wisdom and love.
And just as important as their oral instruction, Bennie and Bonnie modeled this Messiah-like wisdom and love with their actions, never holding grudges for their disappointments and hurts, but always graciously forgiving. And seeking forgiveness when needed.