Friday, June 18, 2010

Of Dealing With Disappointment




So much for traveling around our countryside for yard sales today. Tom is not feeling well, something stomach-related. Alas.

I never learned how to drive a stick-shift--Tom tried teaching me when we were first married (huge mistake) and I never could switch gears without looking down, making the car veer to the right and nearly crashing us. I never did learn to shift gears gracefully.

Well, even now, I still have trouble 'shifting gears' when my plans fall apart. I'd so looked forward to those yard and estate sales! I'd even mowed the lawn yesterday (a big part of it) and did some weeding and watering so that I could ride away from home and anticipate our return, seeing the yard clipped and in order. Which is not what usually happens on Fridays. Or Saturdays, even. Usually we drive up and the word, "Ugh," comes to mind while seeing all things undone.

Switching gears! Choosing to do something else without feeling like I'm doing something less. And thinking of an alternative project which I feel like doing, instead. Those are still hard for me.

So this morning I paced around the house awhile, gazed out the windows, imagined driving here, then there or over there to that store or this one. I could go out for coffee, I mused, or travel to buy groceries or clothes, even, in our former town (which now feels like The Big City, comparatively).

But no. Today, traveling alone didn't sound as satisfying as it used to. I could go anywhere I wanted! Yet all I really wanted to do was go to yard sales with Tom as I'd planned all week. Oh the fun we have whether we unearth treasures or not.

Disappointment! The way we deal with disappointment separates the women from the girls. It is children who pout when they can't have their way. Kids whine and think, "Well, if I can't do what I want, I won't do anything. I'll just mope, instead."

Sigh.

Eventually, after giving myself a stern lecture, I brewed some coffee and carried it and my books and Mary Jane magazines out to our patio where I sat, read and had an amazing, peaceful time. And reminded myself of the myriad times I swore, "If I only had a patio and an old farmhouse and land in the countryside I'd never complain again. I'd be perfectly content forever."

Oh, how we fool ourselves. And oh, how it takes some of us an entire lifetime to realize that contentment based on owning stuff (or traveling) is so fleeting, lasting only weeks or days. Then afterward, how often we begin a new search for new things which will keep us 'fixed.'

But always it comes back to this: Only God can fix us. And keep us fixed. Only contentment based on all He is, all He has become to us, will keep us steady, joyful, even smack dab in the center of disappointment.

I did return to that today and at least it required less time to get there than it used to. Maybe, just maybe, I am growing-up.

1 comment:

Kim said...

I too have a hard time switching gears. I'm a planner, a "closer" and once something gets locked into the steel trap of my brain, it's oh so hard to let it go.

I also fall into the "if only I lost weight/had a microwave over the stove/new counter tops/a screen porch/ a new car/ a different house" - then I'd be happy.

It's wonderful you were able to let go and then be blessed by having a refreshing peaceful time.