Category Archives: disappointment

Aren’t We Lucky?

I grew up in a white, middle-class neighborhood. My dad had a good job; my mom was a homemaker, I have one brother and one sister, we had a dog and a cat, two cars and a house with a nice lawn. We went to the lake in the summer. 

All through my childhood, I was told how lucky I was. How privileged. How grateful I should be that I wasn’t born in a desolate, disease-ridden part of the world, to poor parents, starving, uneducated. And I was grateful. I still am grateful.

But that’s not enough any more. I have come to believe that The Powers That Be knew of my gifts and talents long before I was born and they put me into a privileged situation so that I wouldn’t have to scrape for food on a daily basis, but instead could be free to contemplate how best to utilize my gifts and talents to serve those less fortunate. 

I wish this had been the message given to me my whole life. I would have structured things differently, voted differently, allocated resources differently, written about different things, put my energies into different endeavors. I have come to believe that the celestial advisors are looking to me — and you — to see what we have done with the incredible opportunities we have been given. Do we use our intellect and our wealth for altruistic purposes? Or does it just fuel our greed? Are we miserly with our resources, or generous? Are we happy, joyous and free? Or bitchy and miserable to be around?

I look around and I’m ashamed. I’m embarrassed. People who profess their faith are not acting accordingly. How can we let people starve? How can we let people die for lack of medicine, or mosquito netting over their beds? How can we recklessly squander our resources and then look to those who have marshalled their resources wisely to save us?

How can we send our young people off to war?

Really. We’re sending people off to war?

Shouldn’t we be a little further along than this?

I’m searching my soul today, considering what I can do to uplift the terribly sad state of our world. If I listen carefully, I’m certain I’ll hear a suggestion that I can accomplish today. One small person doing one small thing of faith, for the betterment of my spiritual brothers and sisters.  And if you do one small thing, too, that would double my efforts.

Eventually, we could have ten billion small people doing ten billion small things for each other. Every day. Don’t you think that would make a difference?

Let’s do it.

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Filed under disappointment, Discipline, dreams, Possibilities, Social Consciousness, Spirituality

Dealing with Anxiety

Fear of the unknown is the worst. Well, it’s really the only fear there is. If we knew what was around the next corner, unless it was life-threatening, there wouldn’t be anything to fear. But this not-knowing…

It seems like our lives are always in the hands of someone else: a boss, a partner, an application, a teacher, a diagnosis, the weather. Wondering how they (or it) will affect our lives while we stand by helplessly watching and worrying, is the stuff of anxiety. That’s silly, isn’t it? To worry about things over which we have no control?

In fact, I have to continually remind myself that I have little control over anything. My attitude is the only thing I really have control over, and I’m not entirely in charge of that, either.

Right now I’m worrying. I have anxiety. It’s not life or death, but it’s important to me, and it’s out of my hands, and I am absolutely powerless to do anything but fret.

What a waste of time and energy this is. 

I’m going to go to my quiet place and spend some time in contemplation. I’ll try to reason my way out of this. 1. What’s the worst that could happen? 2. Is the person into whose hands this has been given competent to handle it? 3. How important is this, really, in the greater scheme of things?

The answers to all of those questions are obvious and make my worrying seem silly, yet they did not entirely alleviate my stress. 

Perhaps it is merely a rhythm. Perhaps we need time to be stressed out so we appreciate those times when life seems to be running smoothly. It’s the yin and the yang. The darkness and the light. There is no joy without a little grief. There is no spring without the winter.

Maybe I need to contemplate this instead of dwelling on my uncertainty. Maybe I need to appreciate this time of doubt, knowing that it is temporary, and there will be more confidence and a good lesson learned on the other side.

I’ll work on it, because today, I can do little else.

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Filed under disappointment, dreams, goals, Stress

Have We No Shame?

I haven’t been feeling well lately, so haven’t posted, because I was uncertain as to whether my impatience with Jon and Kate and the whole Letterman affair was due to my feeling low, or if I was really fed up.

Well, the verdict is in. I’m fed up.

Jon and Kate: You should be ashamed of yourselves.

You’ve had your fifteen minutes of fame,  you’ve entertained some folks, your children are adorable, and worth way more than you’re giving them.

Kate: go home. Tend your children. You have EIGHT of them, for cryin’ out loud. What are you doing making the talk show circuit when you should be home being a mom to your kids?

Jon: Go home. Get a job. Forget the television series and all the unearned bucks it throws into your pockets, and act like a father and a provider and a gentleman. We’re sick to bloody death of your spotlight addiction and airing the minutia of your dirty laundry every time I log on or turn on the television. Enough, already.

Mr. Letterman: You broke my heart. I have been such a die-hard fan of yours since the very beginning, and I have cheered for you and celebrated with you and worried over you. And now I find out that you’re just another one of “those guys” who cheats on his woman with sleazy office romances. This is so far beneath you I cannot even express my disappointment.

You’re a victim on top of a victim, and I think that is a shame, but you brought it all on yourself. I hope you can hold your family together for the sake of your young son. At least you’re not rubbing our noses in this distasteful turn of events every time I turn the television on.

No, someone else is doing that. And we watch it.

If we demanded that the talking heads shut up about all of this, perhaps they’d find something else to talk about. Something educational. Something worthwhile, something that would enrich the lives of those of us who watch their programs. Even something entertaining, instead of endlessly slogging through tiny details, twisting and turning them, trying to find a fresh angle.

They do it because we watch it.

Not me. Not any more.

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Filed under disappointment, family, Marriage, Promotion, relationships, Resentment, Social Consciousness

Eliot, oh, Eliot.

Here’s the thing about Eliot Spitzer.
He was my hero.
He took all those greedy damned CEOs and inside traders and made them do the “perp walk” in public for humiliation. He brought Old West justice to Wall Street. I loved him. And he rode that wave of public trust and righteousness to the governor’s mansion.
And then this!
How stupid. He must have some kind of a self-destruct thing going on.
I saw a talking head yesterday say that if he had used a private madam, no one would have ever known. But he used a stupid internet site and wired money in excess of ten thousand dollars, which is what got the FBI involved, because they thought he was taking bribes. 
I don’t know that what he did should be prosecutable, but he surely deserves to be shunned.
I was horribly disappointed, after thinking of him as a crime-fighting white knight.
Turns out he was just a guy.

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Filed under disappointment, politics

It’s always personal

There has been a little dust-up in a group I’m involved in, and in the middle of the night last night it occurred to me that I’m the cause of it all.

I don’t know if that’s true or not. I’m too close to the situation at the moment to see it clearly, but it is certainly a possibility. And so what should I do?

First, I am always the first one to take the blame when things go wrong, even if they have nothing to do with me. I think this is something that most writers have in common; we’re egoists with inferiority complexes.

The person who voiced hurt and anger over the situation may or may not be angry with me, but I’m soul-certain that I did no harm. So in truth, she’s responsible for her own anger. That is not something for me to tinker with.

My spiritual program tells me that what other people think of me is none of my business anyway. I am right with myself and right with my God and therefore I’m okay.

So what actions do I take?

Of course my initial reaction is to opt out of all subsequent discussion on the topic. But how does that serve the whole? Or her? Or me? It doesn’t. It perpetuates the ugliness. And yet, are we (am I) to walk on eggshells? No. That does not serve, either.

I think the best course of action is for me to take a back seat on this particular situation and let it play out. I’ll participate, but less so. I hope that the whole group isn’t intimidated into silence. But if it is… so be it.

Still… I can’t help but take it a little bit personally. It’s always personal, after all. Isn’t it?

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Filed under disappointment, Personalities, politics, relationships, Resentment

Broken Hearts

A broken heart is a broken dream.

It’s a good thing to dream, to visualize a goal, to make it so real in one’s imagination that when the longed-for event or item arrives, it is expected and handled with gratitude and care. It is a good thing to not let obstacles stand in the ways of our dreams, to push through, to fight the good fight, to soldier on, to… well, you know.

To give up on a dream is to admit defeat. Right?

What’s wrong with defeat? What’s wrong with taking the dream off the shelf and admitting that the timing is wrong or circumstances have changed, or the price is too high. Maybe giving up on a dream isn’t defeat at all, it’s realism.

Nevertheless, when a dream evaporates, it hurts. Plans have been made, allowances considered, schedules consulted. Most dreams are enormously successful in our fantasies, and those are the hardest to set aside. With our dreams intact, our futures are glorious. Without them, we’re back where we started, in whatever rut we’re in, swimming through our reality — the detritus of past dreams realized.

Disappointment is tough. But we’re only disappointed to the extent that we invested ourselves in the dream. And dreams are just that: dreams. we shout our orders to The Man Upstairs and then stand by, expecting them to be granted, visions of greatness swirling through our heads. And then, when it doesn’t materialize, we mourn.

We mourn!

That’s ridiculous. Dreams are a dime a dozen. If one doesn’t materialize, then get out and find yerself a new one. I’ve had devastating disappointments in my life and not one of them has hurt me to any measurable degree.

Remember that Garth Brooks song, “Thank God for unanswered prayers”?

So I’ll take today’s disappointment, chalk it up to bad timing and The Man Upstairs’ better plan for my time and energy and get on with trying to figure out what that might be.

I have better things to do today than mourn the loss of a fantasy.

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Filed under disappointment, dreams