I disappoint myself. At least once a day. Usually multiple times. Some days, there are far too many instances to keep track. I won’t get something done that I really, really needed or wanted to get done. Like yesterday, I needed to mail a package. I loaded it in my car. And drove it around all day, but didn’t mail it. Or later, I had to go to the bathroom really bad. I told myself I was just going to use the bathroom in Barnes and Noble and NOT buy any books for myself. So, I read a chapter of a book of short stories on my way to the bathroom. I liked it. But I set the book down. I didn’t dare touch the cover to my face to feel the book. Whew. It was a close call. I came out of the bathroom and began reading a few children’s books. One in particular made me laugh out loud. Come on. If books had feelings, which I’m certain they do, how could I set that one back down? How insulting. So, I tricked myself into buying that book “for my kids” and nieces. (“The Day the Crayons Came Home”) It wasn’t for me, right??
I make a promise to myself then I break that promise. Constantly. I say one thing and then do another. I know I disappoint people around me too. Which is not surprising because people disappoint me too sometimes. When you hold people to a certain level, and they don’t even know it, they will fall short. Most times, people may not even know they’re disappointing you. That whole communication piece is crucial although sometimes it’s easier to not tell someone they’re disappointing you because what if you tell them? And they don’t care or they get defensive and they keep on disappointing you. When it keeps happening, time and time again, it hurts. People can be downright disappointing.
If you venture outside, you may notice that nature rarely disappoints. The Kansas sunsets are typically mesmerizing. They show up evening after evening. If I take a hike or ride throughout the beautiful forests filled with a million different colors of leaves, I feel inspired and recharged. They never hurt my feelings. When I look up at the moon playing hide and seek behind the smoky thick clouds, I’m enchanted. A late night trickster with the best intentions. Truly the only game it plays is to move in and out from behind the clouds. What about a gorgeous, perfectly unique itty-bitty snowflake hitching a ride up the hill on my scarf? Beautiful and delicate. I would never expect that snowflake to fold my laundry or take the time to read my blog.
And one of my all-time favorites is the ocean. The ocean is constant, beautiful and it never ceases. I don’t expect the ocean to take the trash out. Or pay my bills. Or quench my thirst. I would not be disappointed if I ran out past the shore line, jumped into the waves, fell down and gulped a big mouth full of ocean water to discover that it tasted salty. Oh, so salty. Because it’s supposed to be salty. I can expect that. I’ve experienced accidental gulps full many times. I’ve gagged, coughed it back up and spit it out. But I didn’t hold a grudge against the ocean. No way.
Several years ago, we took our three year olds and one year old boys to the ocean and they played in the sand. Then, the waves invited them in. The boys jumped, fell and quickly ran out of the water disgusted, practically foaming at the mouth and crying because of the unexpected and overpowering taste of the salt water. Whoops. It didn’t taste like bath water or pool water or even lake water. It was painfully different. They had to learn to prepare for salt water every time they fell in with their mouths open. When they rubbed their eyes, it hurt too. They learned that they needed to close their mouths and eyes because the ocean does not change. Not even for overexcited little boys who would play in its waters all day long.
People can change though. I believe it. It’s hard. Uncomfortable. Awkward. Humbling. If they’re open and willing to listen to the hard stuff. If they want to grow, if they want to hear someone else’s perspective, opinions, or counsel. If they want to be accountable. I don’t think people like to be a disappointment. I would rather you tell me that you’re pissed at me and you want to punch me in my face than to tell me that I’ve disappointed you. I will take most words but those, not those, please.
I have found an enormous amount of freedom and peace in knowing that there are people who readily love me despite the fact that I disappoint them. I find an even greater peace in knowing that God’s love is like the ocean. Never a disappointment. Beautiful, enormous, persistent. I am so very small, in comparison, but I am loved nonetheless in a gigantic non-stop kind of way. No matter how I may disappoint other human beings, dogs, guinea pigs, etc. God readily accepts and loves me. Always. Every day.
Frustrating, tardy, scatterbrained, confused, stubborn, messy disappointing little speck of sand me. Not only does God love me, God humbles me and believes in me. And this motivates me and helps me and challenges me to be better.
I’m sorry if I’ve disappointed you. You can tell me sometime. I’m willing to listen and grow. And change and do better, if possible. I’m also willing to admit that I will most likely disappoint you again. Unfortunately, it’s a prerequisite for being in a relationship with me.