Great Expectations

Rick Mattson Devotion 3 Comments

An acquaintance promised to call me back but never did. Again.

People let me down. They let you down as well.

How do we respond?

For me, differently than 20 years ago (or even ten years ago). This is middle age speaking right now, so beware.

Some of the best advice I ever received was to lower my expectations of others. So when they let me down I don’t have as far to fall.

If you don’t read my blog or if you forget my birthday or leave me off your party guest list or miss a coffee appointment with me or neglect to show your appreciation after I’ve shoveled your walk or if you just plain leave me holding the bag. . . .

. . . I’m not saying it doesn’t affect me at all. What I’m saying is that as a young man I thought I was entitled to these duties and courtesies from you. These days, not so much.

By the way, this lowering expectations thing–I think it’s biblical. Not to over-spiritualize, but the person I expect a lot from is not you, but me. Christ calls me to love you. Your love of me is your business, not mine. If you give it, I’ll gladly receive it! But I’m not holding my breathe.

A lot of it gets down to this: Which would I rather be most of the time, disappointed? or pleasantly surprised? That’s an easy choice for me.

By the way, lowering expectations works well with movies and restaurants as well. Try it.

Comments 3

  1. Reminds me of the prayer attributed to St. Francis, especially the second stanza:

    Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
    Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
    Where there is injury, pardon.
    Where there is doubt, faith.
    Where there is despair, hope.
    Where there is darkness, light.
    Where there is sadness, joy.

    O Divine Master,
    grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
    to be understood, as to understand;
    to be loved, as to love.
    For it is in giving that we receive.
    It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
    and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

    Amen.

  2. Hi Rick, reminds me of a book I recently finished reading. One of The Hardball Handbook's chapters is entitled, “People Don't Mind Being Used; They Mind Being Discarded.” Granted, this might come off as selfish. That said, the first time I saw the chapter title it really gave me pause.

    – the mick.

  3. Patrick, I'd forgotten about that prayer. I suppose giving ourselves to others without thought for ourselves–if that is possible–will bring a blessing from God.

    Hey Mick, That title seems to play on the word “used” — normally thought of as “manipulated,” but here in the positive sense of serving on a team. Is that right? And do you recommend this book?

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