“Well I took a walk around the world to ease my troubled mind
I left my body lying somewhere in the sands of time
But I watched the world float to the dark side of the moon
I feel there is nothing I can do…”
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
“Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it.”
I felt saddened and frustrated last night and I got to see my dark and petty side. It’s not a side I care to see, but it’s there anyway. The nice thing about being a writer is that I can carefully edit my thoughts and words so that I always come off in the best possible light. The person who is on the written page is the man I want to be. I’m not him yet though, because I have a lot harder time editing the thoughts that come into my head or the words that come out of my mouth.
Normally I don’t share what’s bothering me, but this time I will because it is directly relevant to what I’m writing. I have a big project coming up today and I put out a call for help on Facebook...twice. I have 1,300 friends on Facebook. Not one of them responded. Not one. Not even an, “I’m sorry. I’d like to help, but I can’t.” Nothing. What hurt even worse was the thought of how many of these 1,300 I have freely given my time, advice, or even money. In some cases, I wrote a resume for some people. I did this all gladly because the need was there. I wasn’t expecting anything in return. Or so I thought.
I’m not upset that no one offered to help. I’m upset that no one even responded. Let’s do the math. Out of 1,300 FB friends, let’s say only half of them even saw my request for help. And let’s say out of 650, that 500 of them are not in the area or are working. With the 150 left, let’s say 75 are sick or on vacation. That leaves 75 people who could at least have responded.
Am I being petty and silly?
Am I also being human?
Am I judging people?
My judgment is that people who say they are my friends, on Facebook or otherwise, should offer to help me, or at the very least, respond to me. That’s a judgment and judging people is dangerous because it almost always leads to disappointment. There are differing levels of trust. One is the kind where I believe people, at least people I know, will always come through for me and never hurt or disappoint me. The only way to maintain this level of trust is to realize exactly the opposite. If I understand that even the kindest and most loving of my friends is capable of hurting me, then I won’t be overly disappointed if he or she does. I don’t look for this to happen; I just know that it can.
Most people are not crazy, but they aren’t consistent either. Jesus understood this.
Because of the miraculous signs Jesus did in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration, many began to trust in him. But Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew human nature. No one needed to tell him what mankind is really like.
Jesus loved people, but he did not expect them to meet all his needs. This is not cynicism. This is realism. Love has many attributes and dimensions, but blind faith in humanity in general or in our friends specifically is not one of them. Even Jesus’s closest friends betrayed, denied or abandoned him, yet when all was said and done, he returned to them quickly. And when he brought this issue up, he did so, not to embarrass them or exact some small revenge, but to help them in their spiritual and emotional growth.
So my disappointment is my fault. When I put out my call for help, I was unconsciously expecting something in return for past kindnesses. I was saying, again unconsciously, “Okay, I helped you; now it’s your turn to help me.”
Is it normal and healthy for me to want help? Yes. Being in a healthy relationship means we look out for each other. But my part in the relationship is to love you, not for you to love me. That part is your job. As long as I concentrate on my job, I won’t need to suffer disappointment. Loving you means that I understand that you’re human, inconsistent and that you won’t always reach your full potential. The highest form of love means both allowing your humanity and helping you to grow in it at the same time.
Love is not “either/or;” it is “both/and.” If I should “expect” anything from a relationship, it is that – allowing for each other’s failings while encouraging each other to grow out of them. It is also to encourage each other to Get Started and to Keep Going.