Geoff and I had an opportunity to spend a few hours in conversation yesterday. It always amazes me at the number of topics we manage to cover in a short time, especially as the short time is usually all we are given.
The topic that came up this time had to do with how each person might approach a future disappointment, with the knowledge that recently the situation had not been positive. One view was that in order to have a positive spin on the upcoming situation, having hope that it would turn out okay, allows us to feel a sense of enjoyment in regards to it all, and if it had to result in disappointment, then that would be dealt with when it happened. This was particularly if there had been a change, a conflict that might see it result differently in the future.
On the flip side, expecting that it will fail, that the situation will turn out to be a negative experience, at least prepares you for the inevitable disappointment when it happens or the wonderful surprise when it is the opposite to your expectation. Which means you sit in the safety of expecting the worst, and not feeling the gut-wrenching feeling of it not going as you had hoped.
Here is a thought, does that make the disappointment less? Doesn’t it just prolong the feeling of disappointment, and as such, you end up feeling it for the entire time rather than only when it occurs? What happens if the situation doesn’t disappoint and ends up working out okay? All that feeling of lacking hope has weighed heavily on you, and therefore is a burden until the end.
There is a beautiful quote from Paulo Coelho’s book, ‘Manuscript Found in Accra’. It says that
“a sunset is always more beautiful when it is covered with irregularly shaped clouds, because only then can it reflect the many colours out of which dreams and poetry are made.”
I say, wow! Could this be interpreted in that having the clouds of disappointment could actually lead to having a spectacular sunrise/sunset of joy when something works out well? My grandmother always did say that in order to fully relish the warmth of a hot shower, you needed to be cold first. To be able to appreciate the delicious meal, you needed to be hungry first. Without experiencing the loss of something precious to you, how would you be able to tell when you had something precious to lose?
I have too many questions peppered throughout the above paragraphs. In order to finish this post, it would have to be said that I think people will always work in a particular way that is easier for them to handle any given situation. For some, living in expected disappointment takes a bit of joy out of the moment, but for others it is a necessary preparation to handle life’s many disappointments.
I find that life constantly asks you to take leaps of faith. A lot of situations will ask too much and never reward that leap with catching us safely, but in other areas it is necessary to jump with full strength and not focus on the possibility of falling. Imagine the moment of jumping into the abyss, feeling the rush of air in your face and soaring!!