“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it.”
“Disappointment is the nurse of wisdom.”
Sir Boyle Roche
Today something happened that really disappointed me. By “something” I mean it could have been anything. It could have been a red light, a lost job opportunity, a client who cancelled my services or a friend who cancelled our get-together. It could have been small or large, but I was disappointed.
By “disappointed” I mean sad, frustrated and/or scared. I wanted with all my heart to change the situation. I wanted things to be different from the way they were. I wanted to manipulate the situation, as if it were clay, as if it were a weak person. I wanted what I wanted, in the way I wanted it, and as soon as I wanted it. I wanted no delay in my gratification. In other words, I wanted to be God. No, not God. God is love. And I didn’t want love. I wanted what I wanted. I did not want to be a nice god. I wanted to make things happen, not allow things to happen.
If I could do that, what would that make me? It would make me a tyrant. It would make me a bully. It would make me evil. It would make me weak.
It’s not that my needs or wants are not legitimate. It’s not that they’re wrong. But here’s something I forget: I’m not the only person on Earth. I’m not the only one who has needs or wants which are also legitimate.
How do I do this then?
I’m so frustrated and sad.
In The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, Robin S. Sharma writes, “(S)top judging events as either positive or negative. Rather, simply experience them, celebrate them and learn from them. Every event offers you lessons. These little lessons fuel your inner and outer growth.”
There’s a lot there. First, maybe the thing that upset me is neither positive nor negative. But here’s the thing. If it’s not negative, then it’s positive. It’s a good thing. Right now, because of the event, I’m sitting outside in the shade, a cool breeze blowing on me, while others are dealing with 100-degree heat. I’m safe and comfortable and I’m writing a blog. I’m getting closer to my goal. To make it even better, I have my iPod and I’m listening to Sly and the Family Stone (If You Want Me to Stay) and other songs I like.
Here’s the other thing: if it’s not positive, it’s not negative. It’s just not positive. It’s neutral. So this disappointment is positive or neutral, but it’s not negative. It just is.
Would I still like things to be the way I want?
Yes. Of course. Who wouldn’t? But only if they could be that way without any manipulation or evil on my part.
No. I don’t want things to be the way I want. I want things to be the way they should be, the way they are. I think there is an ultimate order and pattern to the universe. I think God has a plan. In fact, He even says, “I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.”
I remember being turned down for a job that I wanted with all my heart. When I didn’t get it, that heart was broken. As a result I decided to return to school and get a teaching credential. That decision changed my life and opened up huge opportunities I would have never had otherwise. Shortly after returning to school, the organization called me and offered me the job. I just had to wait for the right time. I also had to use my time well until the right time arrived. That’s why I’m writing this blog.
This doesn’t mean I don’t try to affect changes when I can or should, but when I can’t (red lights) or shouldn’t (other people’s needs), then I need to let go. Besides, I have my own work to do.
In the same book, Robin Sharma says, “(Y)ou will be the architect of your own future.”
Can I do that?
Can I build my own future?
Can I create the path that will get me to my Muse and to my house on the beach? Can I Get Started and Keep Going?
I just did.