Unmet or unrealized dreams and expectations result in disappointment. Disappointment, while an inevitable part of life, is difficult to live with. As a child, I envisioned what life as an adult would be like. Perhaps my mind resided in Neverland. I wasn’t naive enough to think that problems wouldn’t exist. Our family had problems like all other families did. I just didn’t expect the problems to pound my life relentlessly as waves pound the rocks along the shore. As the seemingly harmless waters take aim at the rocks time and time again, the eye does not see the damage being done to the rock. It is only after a period of time that the erosion caused by the water is visible. Pieces of the rock–stone that seems much stronger than a substance such as water–are broken away, changing the shape not only of the rock but also of the entire shoreline. Life’s disappointments cause similar damage to the human soul. After years of being battered by the waves of plans gone wrong and dreams shattered, the soul is changed from the lighthearted ways held in childhood–optimism as the future lie ahead, wide open, just waiting to be filled with awesome experience–to one with a rough and often jagged edge. Where childhood anticipation was filled with excitement and dreams and visions of life happily ever after, that space is now filled with the ache of realization that many of those dreams will not come true.
Somewhere, though, hidden within that ache, must reside a glimmer–a dim hope that perhaps the road I’m traveling, filled with its pains and hurts and disappointments, is exactly the road I am supposed to be on. Could it be that what I see as a wrong turn is not that, but rather it is the hand of Providence that is invisibly directing my steps to be worked out for good? My mind debates the idea that what I see as shattered dreams maybe aren’t that in reality. Instead, the disappointment and pain that befriend me on my path are the waves that crash against me, eroding away the outer self in hopes of revealing something altogether different that is hidden within. While the Creator continues to shape and mold His creation, I, like the rocks on the shore, relentlessly pounded by wave after wave, have no choice but to allow the reshaping that is taking place. The barrage is not easy to take. Sometimes there is pain so strong and disappointment so real that I feel it is crushing me with the force it wields. If this life is all I have, I may as well succumb to the waves–allow the disappointment to win as I hold the tiny pieces of a shattered life and watch them slip through my fingers and fall into the bed of sand below, eventually washed back out to sea, forever lost.
This life is not all there is. Oh, how I need this reminder daily…hourly…every minute…every second my eyes are open. I need this reminder as I brace myself once again for the assault that will surely be delivered by the next wave, driven by the wind, that rolls forcefully onto the shore of my life. I need this reminder as fresh tears fall and blend with the rolling tide and my heart breaks for the umpteenth time. I need this reminder as Jesus asks me to give the pieces of my life to Him and I, like a small child, refuse to open the hand that clenches those shattered dreams so tightly. I stomp my feet and remind Him that it just isn’t fair. I loved those dreams, yet I have been forced to watch them die, destroyed by a doctor’s words, the loss of friends, the passing of the years, the aging of my body, a move away from the familiar…
“Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:5)
Hope does not disappoint.
But not Hope. Not God. He cannot disappoint for He works all things for my good.
But first, I have to unclench my defiant hands and give Him the pieces.