Saturday, July 26, 2008

the art of disappointment

It's a craft I should have well-honed by now, but it looks like I still need more practice.

I started off today with a very disappointing experience. The details aren't terribly important. Suffice it to say that I missed out on an opportunity, one that I very much wanted to take advantage of. In fact, I thought I was perfect for it -- I even felt called to it. I thought God had presented me with a beautiful, exciting invitation to share my gifts and reach souls in the process. Apparently I was mistaken, and that isn't the plan, at least not for today.

I exist therefore I've suffered disappointments before, so my wealth of such experience should have softened the blow, right? I should have calmly received the disappointing news, maturely weighed the facts, and accepted God's will with joy. Is that what I did? No, I cried like a spoiled child.

Now I'm a bit disappointed with myself, but with that being human stuff and all I guess I could cut myself a little slack. (My husband, my wise and wonderful best-thing-that-ever-happened-to-me husband,told me I should give myself at least 20 minutes to bounce back.) I am able to acknowledge and name my feelings, and I am flat-out disappointed. That's the way it is.

So what to do with that? I've wiped away the tears, penned a quick note to see if there might be a chance the opportunity still exists, and decided to get on with it. I'm sitting here wondering why I think I know better than God, because at its root that's really what disappointment is, isn't it? My will seemed so perfect, so right. I knew this was the greatest idea for me. I was certain that I would be able to do so much good, and I knew my motives were completed other-centered. Now I'm not so sure.

It's hard for those of us who love the Lord and want to use our talents to share the Good News to accept this simple fact: it's up to Him how He uses us.

Again and again I am distraught when my plans to reach souls are thwarted, through my own mistakes or the decisions of others. I've read enough saint biographies to know that I'm in good company. St. Therese longed for the mission field, but died unknown in a local convent. St. Bernadette was visited by the Blessed Mother herself, then when on to a life of suffering and death at a young age, too. Bernadette called herself "the stupid one" and acknowledged that God would put her a corner, like an unused broom, brought out only if He needed her for some menial task. Yes, that's what she said, and she had been visited by the Queen of Heaven. Just who do I think I am????

A small part of my soul wonders if God is trying to make me a saint when He gives me these disppointments. (I'm not being overly pious here; it is of course His will that we all become saints, right?) I just don't understand His preoccupation with little 'ole me. Doesn't He realize that I could do so much good if he just gave me the chance?

He is giving me the chance. The chance to grow, to mature, to endure, to suffer. The chance to give my fiat, again.

I guess I've done the best I can today. I've wrapped up my self-pity and my tears and my disappointment, and offered it back to my Abba, my daddy who really does know what's best for me. His will be done.


Kate Wicker said...

This is so beautiful, Cathy. I am sorry for your disappointment, but I am thankful for your graceful acceptance of it and for being willing to share your humanness with us all.

God bless!

Anonymous said...

Someone once told me that if we didn't experience disappointment, we wouldn't have any stories to share.

Your story has already helped at least one person. :)

Thanks for sharing it.

Soul Pockets said...

Thank you Cathy for this post.I am sorry for your disappointment, but thank you for giving us all an example on how to deal with it. You touch more lives than you know.

Rachel LaPointe said...

I miss so much when I go away! I'm coming over tomorrow Big Momma!