We've all felt disappointment. People don't respond how we want them to sometimes.
It uncovers a pain that cuts deep. We feel rejected, unloved and sadness.
Whether it is a broken promise from a friend, a disappointing end to a date or relationship, or not creating the perfect March Madness bracket or whatever the case may be; disappointment ranges from superficial to an earth-shattering level of pain.
What do we do in these situations? Do we pick up and move on hoping that the cuts on our hearts will just heal themselves if we leave them alone? Do we wall ourselves off from ever feeling again?
No! Because no matter how hard we may try, we cannot shut off every single emotion and we end with unmet emotional needs. We are supposed to be in community and build relationships! And I know I am in no way the only one who has ever wondered why that was because people are painful and hurtful!
If we were all honest with ourselves, we have all said at one time or another that: "Life would be great if there weren't all these people around to mess it up!"
It's not easy! Dealing with people is not a walk in the park! Especially if you are as opinionated as I am! It involves a risk when we reach out to another person. We risk disappointment and hurt on a daily basis.
We become slaves to fear if we ignore our bleeding hearts and become emotionally crippled. We wall ourselves off in the name of "protecting ourselves".
This reminds me of Colin in the book "The Secret Garden". Colin was Mary's cousin who was secluded in his room who everyone thought he was a cripple and he lived as such. His father kept him in isolation to protect his weak constitution. At the same time, Mary discovers one of the long walls outside the house isn't just a wall but a garden and she had to spend time searching for the door to the inside. As Mary and Colin begin to work in the garden his deceased mother used to tend to he becomes stronger and healthier and is eventually able to walk again as the story progresses.
This story seems to be an allegory for the condition of the garden and Colin's health, but also what we tend to do with our own emotional trauma and pain. We close the door, forget about the key and let weeds take over where beautiful flowers used to be and the walls become so overgrown with vines that when we decide to possibly crack open the door of our hearts we can't even remember how to get in.
We forget how to hope that things could be different.
It's a lot of work to face our pain and our fears. But the pain of not dealing with it is greater than the pain to confront fear and uproot its' hold in our hearts.
In disappointment, in fear and in love we must never stop hoping. Getting hurt and continuing to hope doesn't mean we skip around saying it's all going to be alright. Hoping and loving in spite of fear is feeling the pain and saying that it will be alright in faith rooted in the assurance that God never abandoned us.
The only for sure "answer" I have on how to handle disappointment is to never lose sight of hope. And hope lies in God.
To hoping in spite of fear,