Tell me about that person, again? The one whose life unfolded exactly as they’d hoped and planned it would? The one who by doing all the right and warranted and acceptable things, got exactly what she’d expected? No really, if she exists, please tell me about her.
My youngest didn’t make a sports team he wanted to recently, and I could feel his disappointment jabbing at every lost expectation I’ve ever had– from the similar experience of not making a team to the searing pain of pregnancy loss, to the countless pieces of art rejected by shows and juries.
I resisted every urge in me that wanted to jump right over the pain and directly into the fanciful but empty silver lining. I wanted to tell him that maybe this was a good thing; that maybe he would work hard and make it next year. Instead I held onto him for too long and let him tell me how unfair it was, how much he wanted it, how important it was. “That sounds terrible,” was all I could offer, and a humble offering it was, indeed. Everything else I almost said was me wanting to fix what wasn’t fixable. I have more often than not tried to meet pain with control– they do not get along.
Disappointment feels so helpless.
I wrote the blessing below because I wanted to comfort my child without dismissing him. I wanted to witness and hold his hurt, and I really wanted to say I have great hopes for you still even though this particular and precious one has turned to dust.
The painting that starts this post is a little wrapped up in all of this, too. It’s called “Holding on, Letting Go”. I didn’t cover the subject’s eyes this time because there was a longing there I wanted to honor. And, appropriately, this painting started off quite differently but didn’t work out. It hung in the gallery as a mostly abstract piece before I took it from the wall and started again waiting for newness, which always seems to arrive but never seems to be in much of a hurry.
Blessing for When Things Don’t go as Planned
Your feet never touched the ground of your vision
Your ears never heard the music of your hope
Despite that chorus of well- meaning voices
Second, third, and fourth chances
Or, God forbid (yes, please, God, forbid it)
“Everything happens for a reason”
That path with those blades of grass
That song with those notes in that order
Is irrevocably lost
Blessed are you who longed for what never came
Blessed are those bold enough to seek glory
May you know it
not because of
May unimaginable newness be ever available to you
And may it be perpetually patient
As you mourn what mattered
What won’t be.
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Written by Denise Hopkins
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How beautiful a message!
Thanks for being real and sharing the experience.
Thanks so much for giving it a read!
Lovely thoughts, Denise! I find myself in a similar position as you were to your son: wanting to listen and validate but feeling because of that approach that words fall flat.
Thanks, Greg 🙂
Love your insights!