Raindrops are running down the window in front of me, and I find myself tracing the trails with my eyes. It sounds like marbles are drizzling down the gutters bumping around loose leaves and debris. It’s quiet. For the first time all day, it is quiet enough for me to hear the slight crackles coming from the woodstove, and the occasional sniff from a child snuggling into slumberland. I breathe deeply. I think, “Did I even remember to breathe today?” It was a day of rushing. Rushing to get to music lessons. Rushing to get the shopping finished. Rushing to get home, to start the fire, to begin supper, to ply away the soggy things from our bodies. And then, rushing to rescue our poultry from flooded pastures and our goods from flooded storage areas, rushing to fix the septic overflow (that’s a lot of rain, folks), and, at the end of it all, rushing to get the babies into bed so I could have this: A Moment of Quiet (all of you mamas out there can nod and “mm-hmm” with me).
I think I need a spot of quiet as much as I need sleep, so I am tempted to stay up until the sky glows blush with morning, just for the chance to putter in my thoughts uninterrupted for hours and hours. But that would make for a very unhappy mama tomorrow, so “no” to that idea! I am also sorely tempted to head to bed in my shroud of disappointments from the day. But that seems about as good of an idea as staying up to (pity) party all night.
Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines “disappointment” as a “defeat or failure of expectation, hope, wish, desire or intention…” Boy, I’ll say! Back in our old McMansion (which I have since learned is really defined as a 6,000-10,000 squre foot house…which ours wasn’t, but *felt* that way to me…but I digress…), I had many desires and expectations that met with defeats and failures for a variety of reasons. It feels that way here in our downsized cozy cabin sometimes too…for example, a tree fell on us AGAIN. This time a bit through the roof, into the kitchen ceiling. Your place or dreams can disappoint, too. Dare I say they WILL disappoint, depending on the amount of hope you and I have invested into their flowering and bearing fruit.
And people. Yes, people can be pretty disappointing. Like when they want you to be someone you’re not, and anything less is, well, lesser. So you feel disappointed because you’re just not Right Enough for their hand of friendship. Or maybe you’ve had yet *another* moment of smacking yourself upon the forehead…why did I do that/say that/think that… You can disappoint yourself!
And then there are the sad events. Like horrible things going on in the world, in our country, in our neighborhoods. Or closer to home, like a pet dying. Or, worse, people dying and not even having the emotional space to bake cookies for the service.
So, I’m watching the raindrops. Because (did I mention?) it’s finally Quiet. And I’m contemplating disappointment and if it’s a sin to be so. And I’m pondering this quote by Noah Webster:
We are apt to complain of the disappointment of our hopes and schemes,
but disappointments often prove blessings and save us from calamity or ruin.
It sounds a little like the verse that is generally given as a there-there sort of patting, and yet, well, it’s truth:
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
I figure there is where it lies, as in the sort of rubber and road coming to meet with one another, hopefully in a grip and not in a sliding sort of pell-mell accident. And on that road of grappling realities with disappointments, I must grip this: that God is sovereign, that He is about the business of sanctifying me, and that He knows where and when to do the pruning. Whether that be expectations, hopes, wishes, desires, or intentions. Whether that be material goods, beloved animals, or people I care about. Jesus paid it all, so all to Him I owe. I am learning to live more open-handedly, more open-heartedly, more grateful for the simple things and more generously. At least I think I am–ask me in a decade and we can chuckle then over how little I’ve really learned at this time.
Disappointments never feel good, and neither does the pruning that it entails. But the Gardener is Good. He only sends the rain to accomplish His purposes, whether that be actual water from heaven or in the various disappointments that make our hearts feel soggy and limp. He uses them all to bring about better things.
Isaiah 55:10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater…
The rain is still plucking on the rooftops. I think I can sleep well, now, lulled by the water and yet reminded that my Shepherd is fully awake and watching over me. Take my disappointments, Lord, and exchange them for more of You.
Psalms 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.