I sit at my ‘new’ mustard colored writing desk with grateful heart but no great expectations.
I prefer to hold no expectations as I write. Whatever comes of my writing practice is fine by me. For too long, I have suffered from having hopes and dreams that too often proved false. I no longer wish to carry the burden and pressure of great expectations only to suffer their disappointment when they remain unmet. Where I sit, great expectations grate.
Taking the opposite tack, Darla Langhorne of Langhorne Antiques — the lovely proprietor of my favorite little vintage store in all of OKC–wished great expectations on all my writings from this little desk. I felt blessed by her sentiments and her support of dreams I no longer wish to dream. But I’m left with the thought, is it better to hold or to not hold great expectations from that which fills your heart with joy?
The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius have instilled in me this attitude of holding ‘lightly’ the things of this world. Dreams are born and dreams die. People are born and people die. Puppies are born and puppies are given away to new owners, much to my father’s disappointment. It’s easier on the heart to not get too attached. Maybe Dad would agree, as he nurses a broken heart from a home grown too quiet without sound of puppy piddles and paddles.
My son Bryan kept secret our dining destination for this month’s moveable feast. He wished us to harbor no false expectations that might keep us from attending. But even so, two family members backed out upon arrival, as their expectations of the restaurant’s ethnic food held them back from the experience. Those who stayed may never go back, but the novelty of eating our first Ethiopian food together made for an unforgettable evening. We laughed and anticipated what certain dishes might taste like, which a few of us ordered with some trepidation. But as food arrived, I was pleasantly surprised. I ate all these wonderful vegetables and meats with cool spongy bread rather than with fork and knife. And while I enjoyed the food and family gathering, what I most appreciated was that, in spite of busy work and school schedule, Bryan had taken the time to prepare a place for us, taking on the hard work of pulling us together and making the reservations. All that was required of us was to show up and remain open – and hold back expectations that would hem us in.
Being open to a sense of adventure whose destiny is unknown until the ending is written seems the better choice, rather than to limit and define our journey by holding a map of false expectations. Because truth is discovered only as we live out our stories in the land of everyday life rather than in our wild imaginings and expectations, whether they be great or grate.