The Journey to Disappointment

CC BY-NC, le calmar, Flickr
CC BY-NC, le calmar, Flickr

There have been times in my life when I’ve descended to fight the fiercest battles against the past possibilities of my life. It never took much to engage: a family member’s new success; an acquaintance’s marriage or new baby; the news of old friends excelling. It could all send me over the edge because I always seemed to be going nowhere.

So I would turn my weapon and inflict harm on myself—If you had only bought this, not done that, tried harder, moved there, stayed longer, saved more, asserted yourself, learned this, said no, spoke up, imitated him, asked her, agreed to everything, and been a real man, you might be farther up the road, more pleasing to yourself, your people, and your God.

I’d snap from the madness minutes later like a limb in the face. So what if you’re right? I often thought. And what if it is partially true that the way things have turned out for you is not entirely your fault? None of this was the point though. What would that hill of sorrows ever matter? So I’d concede to the apparent: nothing so obvious in a battle.

Perhaps the places we’ve had to pass through in life were not all necessary to get us where we stand. We mess up sometimes. We fail to heed good advice; we become neglectful. It is often the case for many of us that where we are in life is not where we wish we were, but it is certainly better than many conditions in which we could find ourselves. Yet where we are might make it worth taking another look at where we’ve come from.

Look at you—the cuts and bruises, your sweat-soaked head and blood-filled mouth, burning lungs and tired limbs. They all speak wonders of a person who would have welcomed demise not long ago. Somewhere something happened that put armor in your flesh and turned a heart into iron. The double-take reveals that where you stand, in maturity and insight, is light years ahead of where methods would have gotten you by now.

Lightning couldn’t strike a more terrifying revelation in that moment that what-ifs and alternate realities cannot be trusted. Having one’s “ducks in a row” and charting every cent and second of one’s life may require just a pullet feather to topple it all. Moreover, we don’t interview the ones on hospital beds now or in prison now to hear the other half of glamorous, climbing-the-ladder, American Dream stories, the ones that take dramatic detours.

I am not what I do! I am not what I possess! I am not what others think of me! I will not be a pawn of any system!

Sure, some say, this is precisely the argument of someone lamenting his or her failed life, and it’s easy to concede to spiritualities then. But this is no failure or newfound faith. It is merely a second look at what we now understand to be the long way around, a redemptive and awfully appreciable route.

Do not make the mistake of hearing me equate the rat race with normal living and progress, for too often this is what progressiveness gets us, especially in this generation. “You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt. 6:24) is so radically inclusive of all the many cares of life in which we foolishly place our trust. I am guilty of it—why else should I share my grief?

I know what it is to put it all on paper only to watch the paper go up in smoke. I know what to tire feels like and understand rough-hewn Peter, captain and fisherman, contesting Christ: “We have been out here all night while you were sleeping. But just this once, at your strange insistence, we’ll launch again” (Luke 5:4-11).

We must trust God. “For he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold” (Job 23:10). We are not forgotten, wherever we find ourselves on this journey. He is closer to us in the process than we perceive.

“’The Lord has deserted us; the Lord has forgotten us.’ Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.” (Isaiah 49:14-16)

5 thoughts on “The Journey to Disappointment

  1. @”Perhaps the places we’ve had to pass through in life were not all necessary to get us where we stand. …>>” Mike? I hope that your name..I’m assuming it is from the title of your blog..I’d like to address you personally right now..(and if its not your name then oops..) It is my BELIEF in the total opposite of this comment I’ve quoted you on..I believe, and yep, I believe Mike, we ARE supposed to go THROUGH everything we go through in our Life Journey to get us to the right here and NOW. That means the good, the bad, and yes the ugly parts…I didn’t always feeeeeel this way. I used to, backintheday, think that I’d been dealt a funky hand! Like playing cards I always had the BAD hand..In ANYthing going good in my life, and I’ve had a TON of good experiences and love, love, love!, I always Mike looked for the worst. IF there was a BAD thing to be found in any given situation, (and I mean any…) Bernadette(thats me) would find it. I was an optimistic pessimist. Now that may not make sense to you or anyone reading this; but it makes perfect sense to me. Because I lived it. My Daddy used to tell me that I was my OWN worst critic..And he also said that I had inner-demons, just as EVERYONE has, and that I was so busy being my own worst critic and enemy; that my inner-demons were killing my joy…My Daddy also used to tell me that because of that I could NOT see the beauty inside me; that SO many people saw and felt…Somehow Mike? I was able to emit joy and love! even though I didn’t feel that about myself…I can’t tell you the number of countless people, angels!, I’ve met on my Life Journey..They’ve hung with me and loved on me(even my exmominlaw/exsisinlaw) through my times down in the valley..And loved ME until I finally came out on the other side to love myself…I’m getting emotional just writing and sharing this with you..But I feel called on to do so..I used to push people away Mike when I was going “through” IT..And my going through it period lasted for about 7 years following my last divorce…I never in that time period wished for anything anyone else had..I just wanted to NOT be going through the emotional pain I was going through..And when my 1st spiritual awakening hit me??? OMG I was almost immediately awarded a sense of utter relief and release…From then on Mike step by step I started loving ME..It has been a process. Now I love me fully..I had to EMBRACE where I had been/take accountability for where I’ve been/embrace things that had happened to me that were causing me emotional pain./and I had to STOP looking backwards..I had to learn that looking backwards or wishing I had done things differently does NO good..WE can’t go backwards..But I also can briefly look back and realize this. I would NOT be as in excellent of a emotional state right here and now; IF I hadn’t been through all that I’ve been through. So I say alllll of that to say some of us? We have to go through certain things /events/experiences to get closer to our God given life potential. I believe that in fullest way possible Mike. Because I’ve lived it..Some people would believe that there are such things as coincidence..That there is NO such thing as a God’s plan for our lives..Pfft! I believe there IS. But I also can respect anyone’s elses’ beliefs that differ from mine. It is just that I have to agree with them to disagree..’Tis hard not to believe in someone one has lived’ .

    If I read you correctly and feel your words then I think you might be battling with bouts of depression..I’ve been there..Sans any type of meds..I did though WILL myself to get over those bouts. And I do believe such bouts /rounds with depression are heredity..It is just some people prefer not to admit it/or are in denial/or are simply unaware they’re even dealing with it. For some it becomes such a norm they just think its a way of thinking they have to endure. I am here as a living testament that it IS not something we have to endure. Once we know we think a certain way? WE can change it..but it takes work. Alot of work. Constant work. Consistent work. It takes knowing ones self and dealing with self. Daily..Example ? I can NOT handle trafffic well. I get flustered. I get anxious! Probably because I’ve been rear-ended . Twice! So what I do to avoid it? I AVOID freeways whenever possible! To some it seems crazy to just go surface streets no matter how much longer it takes me to get somewhere. BUT I care less what it seems to other people..They can take the short route of freeways. For me taking surface streets takes away stress and anxiety. And I’m all about quality of life and less stress..There is enough stress in our lives as is..That is just but one example I can give.

    I hope that my words are met with the sincerity in which I’m intending…Reading your words made me reflect..Alot. Great reflections that affirmed for me how far I’ve come..And its a great feeling for I’ve worked HARD Mike & I’m still a work in progress..I think in this life we’ll always be a work in progress..In stages..And as we progress we’re supposed to share our experiences to help others! I get off on attempting to help others with my words..Makes me feel good to think a little effort thinking/typing could do that..I’ve said far more than I intended..BE encouraged my friend. BE still and listen to your heart/your spirit. And then? Stay busy doing happy things! And be good to works IF you work it…Your Sista in Christ with sincerity, Bernadette(Berna)

    • Hi Bernadette. (Yes, my name is Michael, or Mike.) I appreciate your full-hearted interaction with this post, and don’t worry–I know you are totally sincere. I don’t think we disagree that much on the line you pointed out, if at all. You seem to be saying two things: 1) we will go through hardship and 2) we must persist through it. I agree. I am not hearing you say every hardship is necessary, which is what I’m alluding to in that line. I say that because some hardships in life could be avoided if we only take advice or use wisdom.

      I take this on directly in “The Unfailing Love of God” where I express that some hardships are our own fault, others are the plight of life. No one is left unscathed in this life. But if we claim that every hardship is required for making us better persons, well people will quickly reject God and all things spiritual and question his benevolence (or discern just how loathsome they are and spurn all hope of salvation.) Yet you’re right, get through these times we must. Thanks also for sharing this portion of your life with me.

      You’re keen. When I wrote this article many years ago, I did go through periods of depression. I was completely dissatisfied with how my life was turning out. I had it all planned. I got my education, but there was no progress. I am still not please with where I am, but I am a far stronger individual within, in every way.

      I don’t wish to offend people who deal with clinical depression, but I kind of “grew out of it”–depression, that is. I remember a time when I got sick of being down. I got sick of not wanting to do anything, and there was an about-face. God has strengthened me greatly, and I don’t deal with that junk any longer. When I see Satan coming now-and-then with oppression…talk about a fight!

      Well I’ll stop here. I love chatting with you! Let me know what you think about what I’ve said. Cheers!

      • I think we’re saying the same thing; just in different ways..But it is close enough for me to say our thoughts are aligned..IF I were to explain anymore it would probably be over-kill. As for sharing of my life experiences & getting over & through valleys? Part of my God given purpose is to share with others from where I’ve come from to where I am now..And truth of the matter is I’m still striving to reach my full potential in that regard..Yet, I love the person I’ve grown to BE. Quite honestly I’m IN love with the me .. Became the kind of person I used to admire from afar..Has nothing to do with having a big ego (or head though I admit to being vain! I’m working on that…) ; but speaks as a confirmation of how God can work wonders & miracles..

        I am pretty keen & I read alot between the lines of the unsaid..Was born reading so I’ve got about 50 yrs experience of reading lol! Anyways I can’t say I had clinical depression..But I know I had bouts of depression and funks that were like spiraling into darkness…And , unlike you, it wasn’t just my getting sick & tired of being in funks here & there that snapped me out of it..It was the relentLESS angels God sent into my path/life…My MOM..OMG the love & patience & PRAYERS from my MOM & my DADDY..They prayed me out of my funk & back to the person/potential they knew & had seen I was..My sons/myexhusband(whose a very good friend of mine) my exmominlaw/sisinlaw/MY BROTHER..My lifelong friend and X one of the great loves of my life./friends and friends..the list goes on & on..They stuck with me Mike even when I pushed them away..And eventually? I decided OMG allll these people love me; so why don’t I? From that point on I’ve fought and clawed my way into the sunshine..And now? There is far more light, and SUN, and rainbows than any form of darkness..Even rainy days(and it rains ALOT here on the Left Coast) are full of my too-loud laughter…Now they want me to laugh quieter Lol!

        So fight ON my new friend..WE are all fighting to maintain..It is when we stop caring enough to fight and hang on that the life won’t mean as much. It IS worth fighting for..And with all of the darkness going on in the world??? And all the people using meds just to maintain or just to deal? Not having ever had a need to use meds nor drugs; I consider myself triple BLESSED. I don’t take it for granted…

        And for the record..I love chatting with YOU also. Cheers! I think, lol. Can I see cheers as a parting or is that a greeting? I spent a little time in England long ago and I thought cheers was for greeting?

        • This is beautiful, Berna, and feel no guilt for loving who you are. I’m just like you. My expression is “I am my own best friend!” I’ve learned that I need other people, but I’m okay if they’re not present. Yours sounds like the testimony of wholeness…of a fully integrated person. And praise God for good people around you. I really didn’t have individuals, family or otherwise, who understood me and knew how to deal with what I struggled. Truthfully, I see this as their loss.

          Yes, we will fight on! I love life. I love my humanity…its possibilities. Oh…cheers. It’s actually used to say several things: hello, goodbye, thanks, no problem, you’re welcome, in toast, and more. So, Berna, CHEERS to you!

        • You’re either reading my mind or my past blog posts. I’ve used that term @My own best friend. But I’m kidding just means we sound like we’re in pretty much the same spot in life. Isn’t it GREAT? And yet so much more to learn and improve upon. The more I learn Mike the more I want to learn..even regarding the Bible. I’m still quite a baby with scripture. I’m more into living it than being able to quote it..Soon though I’ll be joining a newly forming Bible study at my church. Check out my last blog on happiness and I think you’ll enjoy it…Cheers but only for now..That will be our special parting from this day forward. 🙂

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