I read this quote recently on Facebook: "What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it is supposed to be." I agree. One way not to be disappointed is to not have any image of the way things are supposed to be.
But, I wonder how much we miss if we give up our imagination about what we would like life to be. Desire is vital to life. It is what makes the difference between existing and living. Desire is the driving force for activity. The desire for the well-being of our family drives us to get to work and earn money. The desire for a better world drives us to work for laws that make a more just world. The desire to live well in our family motivates us to be graceful and forgiving. Desire is what gives shape and form to our daily decisions.
So, if we are to be alive, and if we are to desire life to be a certain way, what do we do when it doesn't turn out the way it's "supposed to be"? How do we live with being disappointed when people don't do what we think they should do?
One way to look at disappointment is as a loss. When things don't work out as we want, we lose something. We lose confidence in our ability to make things happen the way we want. (Maybe that is something like the loss of the illusion that we are God.) We may lose our belief that everyone else sees the world the way we do. We lose the illusion that others desire life just as we do.
And with any loss, we have to grieve it. Grieving loss is at it's core an act of forgiveness. One person has said that forgiving is forgrieving. Our inability to forgive the world for disappointing us will destine us to live in the prison of past pain. Forgiving others for disappointing us frees us to live a new way, maybe with the grace to accept that which we can't change. It makes it possible to move forward in a world that isn't the way we think the "world is supposed to be."
What do you have to grieve during this holiday season? Will you forgive those who disappoint you and open to the surprises of a world that is new and filled with different possibilities?