Saturday, December 6, 2008

Expectations

If I ever am able to work again and am asked in an interview what my weakness is, I will answer, Expectations. I have not mastered this yet. I keep getting closer, and then I fall on my face. What is the expression....Three steps forward, two steps back? Yea, that is me.

So the success is this past holiday with my family. I set very low expectations. I was careful to not expect my family to be any different than the last thousand times I've been with them. The temptation was strong, since I haven't been home for the holidays in years and years. And we are all older now. But I was determined and didn't give in. The result was a nice holiday. Of course, there were some minor moments...okay, they didn't always FEEL minor...but really, no big stories to tell. (My neighbor had me over for coffee and was QUITE disappointed when there were no juicy stories to share.)

I was privileged to get to spend some time with my college friend, M. It was great. We had so much fun talking and just hanging out. We laid around and laughed and talked! It was just what I needed. We did get together with some other friends from college. My expectation was mixed. I was hoping that we would get together and it would be like old times. But I also worried that it wouldn't and I would be hurt. Again, I was surprised at how well it went. We had all grown up a lot. I was pleased to see that they had begun to see the gray in the world as I had. I am not sure that we see the same amount of gray, but that is okay. It was really nice seeing them, eating, talking, laughing, and laughing!!! I have missed them being in my life. (for the record, I messed up by meeting Mr. M and getting married!!!)

Today my lesson of expectations came to bite me in the ass. I thought I had it all under control. I had let everyone know that TODAY we were going to put up the Christmas tree. Well, Buddy was clear that we would have to wait until after baseball. Missy was clear that she had LOTS to do today as well. Mr. M settled it all when he let me know he wasn't available until 3:30. So we were all shooting for 3:30. This was announced, so I could reign in my expectation of getting it done earlier. I could sit and knit. I could do other things. Everyone else had the same options. I guess I forgot to check the expectation of everyone having a good time and enjoying putting up the tree. It has always been a fun time. Well, okay, there is always some bitching. Mr. M always says something about how many ornaments we have and I usually get defensive. But Buddy and Missy's enthusiasm always overrides our issues. Not this year. Buddy helped. But there was little excitement. Missy didn't even bother to help. It was sad. I was upset. My hopes dashed, all because of my expectation.

This is the season of expectation - Advent. The waiting for Christ to come. In religious circles, there is talk of hope, love, and joy. There is a sense of anticipation in the air. The people in Jesus' day were longing for change. I imagine the feelings of the people were not unlike the feelings of those in the US right now. There is a palpable feeling of anticipation of the change that Barak Obama will bring. A lot of hopes and dreams are being pinned on him. Much as the people placed on Jesus. (Before I lose some of you, I am NOT implying that Barak is Jesus!!) Yet, when Jesus did come, the people were disappointed. Why? Because he was not the messiah they had anticipated. He was a mere baby, gentle and kind.

So what do we learn from this? That we should set our expectations low so as to never get hurt? We should aim for the sky and expect to be dashed to the ground? Or maybe somewhere in between? I think for me, it is being more realistic. Remembering that I can't control all situations, and how people feel and react. Remembering to be open to all possibilities, not locked onto one outcome, but open to any. Because, just as a small baby grew into a wise man who taught us how to live, our disappointments often end up bringing us more joy than we ever could have imagined.

Till next time,
Mrs. M

1 comment:

Joy said...

And it's times like these that the bittersweet reality that our house is home to a forever 7-year-old feels more sweet than bitter. To Stross everyday from now to Dec. 25 is a holiday! Too bad you didn't live closer. You'd have an every ready, energetic helper to borrow.