Surviving Waves of Disappointment

March 6, 2009

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Over the past several months I have been going through an unusually intense season of disappointment.

Like any other human being, disappointments are nothing new to me.  In forty eight years, I’ve had my share of them and have observed that much like wolves, they seem to travel in packs. With that in mind, I feel safe in saying that this is just another wave I have to ride out, after which I will wipe my brow and say, “Whew! I’m glad that’s over with.”  …  just like the last fifteen or twenty times it’s happened.

Being disappointed is never an enjoyable experience and not something a person can ever really “get use to”.  If I could have my way, I’d never go through another such season in my lifetime.

Can you identify with that sort of wishful thinking?

Well I, being me, decided to occupy some of my emotional “down” time with research on the subject.  According to my dictionary, a “disappointment” is a situation in which one’s hopes, dreams, or plans are not fulfilled.

There’s certainly no arguing with that definition.  That’s a given, however, one particularly disturbing statement I read about disappointment indicated that the primary cause of being disappointed is having one’s expectations set too high.

While that makes sense and I agree that setting unrealistic expectations can definitely lead to huge disappointments, I’ve personally found the worst disappointments to come from situations where I’ve felt my expectations were exceptionally reasonable.

For example, when my youngest daughter discovered she was pregnant, we all expected her to carry to term and deliver a healthy seven or eight pound baby.   Instead, she developed serious complications in the twenty-third week and delivered a micro-preemie baby boy at twenty four weeks plus four days gestation.  He came into the world weighing a mere one pound ten ounces and will be dependent on God’s grace and modern technology in order to survive the next several months.

To say we were “disappointed” that Emily’s pregnancy did not go full term would be a serious understatement, yet our expectations were definitely not unrealistic.

Add to that a whole list of “disappointments” I am dealing with; disappointing friendships, disappointing business endeavors, disappointing medical issues with my fourteen year old son…

Disappointments arrive from different sources, presenting themselves in varying shapes and sizes from mild to heartbreaking, but one thing is for certain.

Disappointments DO come!

It isn’t a matter of if,  it’s a matter of when.  The only way to avoid being disappointed is to cease to exist.  I personally, do not see that as a viable option!

Of course my reason for writing this is not simply to showcase my own current state of frustration. I have not become so blinded by my circumstances as to overlook the fact that nearly everyone around me is also dealing with, in many cases, overwhelming disappointments of their own.

For instance, few people have been spared the effects of the recent downward spiral of our economy.   Because of that, many of us are being forced to blaze new trails through a thick forest of uncertainties. People who have worked at the same job for twenty years are suddenly finding themselves in the unemployment line.  Retirement funds are disappearing and homes are being repossessed.  The result is a feeling which goes far beyond disappointment and heartache, reaching into the realm of fear of the unknown that lies ahead.

Surprisingly enough, in the midst of all this, there is good news!  During my research I also came across one very encouraging aspect of disappointment…

Just as inevitably as  trying times come … they also go!

In the process, the human spirit has a remarkable way of dealing with such things.   We adjust, we learn, we grow stronger and move on!

How do you deal with your own disappointments?  I suppose that is a very individual choice.

My personal source of comfort in times like this is based on my deep rooted faith.   In the Bible, Jesus said  “… in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33, NIV …  emphasis mine)

This season will not last forever.  It will pass, not only for me but for you as well.  Draw all the strength you can muster and ride the wave.  In due time you will find yourself resting safely back on the shore.

Becky J. Taylor

March 6, 2009

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3 Responses to “Surviving Waves of Disappointment”

  1. Joanna Ramirez Says:

    Dear Becky:
    What an excellent article! And at the perfect time….today, I felt it!!!!!One of my students, not any students,,,,,one of my best students cheated on a quiz….I confronted her….I was very dissapointed…simply because I have great expectations on this young lady….The definition fits well into our everyday life….friendship dissapointments….i have some of those as well….but it is true,…..we must go on….we must go on….we must trust that God will make a way…a way to feel better….to do better….to choose better…..to move on even if it hurts……

  2. boldnewday Says:

    Thank you for your comment Joanna. I’m glad it spoke to you!

  3. Gail Says:

    HI Becky, Well it was perfect that I would read this today. I have been feeling pretty bad. My daughter. She is on drugs and I am in denial of sorts. I don’t want to face another thing. Ihave had enough. She needs to move out and and I need to quit being codependent. Yes I had expectations. I had hopes and it seems that this just continues on and on – never letting up. I’m waiting for that day that I can handle it better and have to believe that what ever happens is for the best and pray for that.

    Gail


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