Their exuberance and commitment was a TEN. Eight Baylor seniors, led by my crazy, energetic daughter, invested three precious days, road tripping over 1600 miles round trip, to witness opening day of the renowned Albuquerque balloon fiesta. With no sleep, fueled by roadside snacks, kombucha and coffee, the determined kids drove through the night to our home. Balloons or bust.
Arriving at 3am, the travelers sprawled on air mattresses covering most of the available floor space in our cozy home for what was barely a cat nap. Friday they woke to rare Albuquerque rain. Oh well.
Instead of their planned foothills hike, reliable sources report that the coeds were spotted filming a dance video in the church parking lot.
Then Saturday morning, after waking at 0 dark 30, the kids endured backed up traffic and made it to the balloon fiesta park in what they thought was the nick of time. The fog was dense, but the green flag waved providing hope for the famous mass ascension. They waited and waited. They laughed and waited. A few balloons braved the cloud cover, but most stayed grounded.
In spite of hours of driving, minimal sleep, fighting the crowds, and waiting for over three hours, it was not to be. All hopes were dashed for our Texas guests along with with the hoards of other expectant visitors who were there to see a balloon fiesta spectacle. Oh well.
“I’m so sorry you guys, what a bust.” I said to the college kids as they walked in the front door.
“Oh we still had fun” they reported while licking their lips having just come from Golden pride for green-chile breakfast burritos.
No matter what, Becca and her Baylor friends were determined to make their Albuquerque visit memorable and fun. And it was. Impressed by their creativity and resilience, they got my attention.
Some might conclude their timing was awful with rain one day and a cancelled mass ascension the next. But from my vantage point their visit was perfectly timed as a special gift to me.
You see, while the fun seeking friends were en route from Texas, I was wallowing in the thick mud of my own pity party. Ian continues to push me (and all assistance) away and it hurts beyond measure. Because of his immature refusal to accept help, and some stupid decisions, I sense another self-imposed crash and I’m forced to be a sidelined spectator. This behavior compounded by a hardened heart towards all things of God, has given deep roots to disappointment.
How to handle it
Preparing for a house full of guests was a helpful distraction. But later I realized that God gifted me with a front row seat to witness how that Baylor bunch handled their disappointment.
Sure…I agree, not all disappointment is the same. But no disappointment has the power to derail you, unless you allow it to. How is it that some days, the water just rolls off your back, and other days, the same water drowns you? Knowing what makes the difference, in my view, is the key to joy in spite of your circumstances.
After all, disappointment is unavoidable. I’d venture to say that to some degree, disappointment happens for each of us, everyday. You lose your tennis match, the insurance approval is denied, you fight with your kid. And then there is the big stuff — all before ten am.
Sometimes disappointment can be more devastating than tragedy even, because you have skin in the game. Since you have some influence on the outcome, you invest time, energy and emotion setting you up for a harder fall. Ask any Christ loving parent whose adult child has turned his back on the Lord!
Here’s the thing… that space between our expectations and reality is fertile ground. Something WILL grow.
For me, there is a huge chasm between my expectations for Ian and reality. And…if I’m honest, I admit that a field of weeds has matured — sadness, hurt, resentment, anger and even fear.
You’re not the only one!
The early disciples faced their own share of letdowns. Paul in particular, writing several letters of the New Testament from prison, is a credible voice for disappointment! But check out what he wrote in Romans chapter 5.
Romans 5:3-5 (NLT) 3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
The Bible is clear. We’re to rejoice in whatever you call them… problems, trials or disappointments. Several translations refer to them as suffering.
That makes no earthly sense. Correct. It makes no earthly sense, but it does make perfect eternal sense. Re-read the passage and notice the progression. Rejoice in spite of trials which leads to endurance which leads to strength of character which provides you a confident hope and that hope WON’T disappoint.
Here’s what I’ve concluded. It’s possible to rejoice in the face of disappointment because of eternal hope. END. OF. STORY.
It isn’t some forced, just think positive self-talk. Not only that, joy doesn’t require met expectations. That is why small and seemingly insignificant things can make our hearts happy even in the midst of disappointment — like dancing in the church parking lot, or breakfast burritos, for example.
Have Joy Anyway
I thought more about my pity party. And with the observation of some fabulous, Lord loving young adults, His word to me was — have joy anyway. Look up. See that Hope is alive. And trust me with what you can’t control.
Sometimes disappointment can’t be overcome, only endured. In those moments it’s important to remember the promise of hope. Hope in Christ’s love and faithfulness, hope for better days to come, hope for His good purpose in the mess.
So… it’s time I take my own advice… WHEN disappointment happens, shift your gaze and remember with God there is always hope.
I love how the Message translates Paul’s letter written from prison to the church in Corinth.
2 Corinthians 1:7 Your hard times are also our hard times. When we see that you’re just as willing to endure the hard times as to enjoy the good times, we know you’re going to make it, no doubt about it.
Dear Jesus, Thank you for your promise of hope that won’t disappoint. And for your word that reassures me that I’m going to make it. I am grateful for your timing and how you revealed my field of weeds. Please kill them so that joy can grow. I love you and trust you.