Disappointment - Part 1
Life can be disappointing.
Sometimes things come along that mark us and change us forever
Sometimes it’s little things. We want to catch the bus but we miss it and we have to catch the next one. We want to win the lottery but we don’t win it. We can easily brush off these things. They don’t normally affect us a huge amount. They happen, we accept they happened and we happily move on with our lives.
There are other things, though, which can be much more difficult. Sometimes things come along that completely knock us flat. Sometimes things come along that mark us and change us forever. Someone we know and trust seriously lets us down. We really have our sights set on something, we dream about it and hope for it, and it doesn’t work out. Someone we loved dies. These things are harder.
Disappointment. How do we handle it? Why does God let it happen? What do we do when it comes?
The front foot
Let me put my front foot forwards.
“Why the hell did that happen? God, why did you let that happen?”
I’m someone who’s faced some difficult disappointments in life. Things have happened to me that I’ve spent years getting to grips with. Things that have happened that made me turn around and say, “Why the hell did that happen? God, why did you let that happen?”
The two key ones fall in one particular area. My chief hurts, pains, disappointments and wounds in life have come in the area of love.
You see, what is supposed to be a really good thing, can also be something that can cause great harm and pain.
I grew up in a two parent family, one of five kids. Two brothers, two sisters. I’m the second and we go from 10 right through to 27. So there’s a lot of us.
When we get together, my brothers and sisters, it’s a wonderful thing. We have jokes, we watch movie, we play games, we laugh, we talk. It’s awesome.
When I was sixteen we, my brothers and sisters and I and my mum and dad, were all at our house enjoying a barbeque. It was great.
It didn’t actually hit me at first. I smiled and got on with life.
All of a sudden my parents gave us all a serious look and told us, “Kids, we’ve got some news to share with you. After lunch we’ll tell you.”
Needless to say, the tone of lunch changed quite a bit after that. We were all wondering what it was going to be.
After lunch they got us all inside and sat us all down and my father told us, in tears, that they were going to get a divorce. By Christmas I would have not one family but two.
It didn’t actually hit me at first. After the holidays I went back to school and just focussed on getting my A-Levels done. I smiled and got on with life.
But when Christmas came it really hit me. I came home from school one day to a different home. My dad wasn’t there anymore.
There was a fierce storm going on in my heart and I couldn’t see any way out
That Christmas was a pretty hard one. We went skiing and every single day I felt, and this is the best way I can put it, as if the whole world had gone dark. There was a fierce storm going on in my heart and I couldn’t see any way out. I wasn’t just upset, I was ripped apart.
One of the really hard things about divorce is that, apart from your friends, who don’t always completely understand what you’re going through, you really face it alone. Talking to parents about it, as you can imagine, can be a bit of a minefield.
At the age of 17 I learned that you can have 5 kids with someone, travel the world with them, be married to them for over twenty-five years and still not be safe from that very person. As good as it is, love can be a double-edged sword: a source of great happiness, and a source of great pain.
You can imagine how, after what I went through with my parents, it took me a long time to love someone, and even longer for me to truly trust them.
But at the age of 22, it did happen. I found someone and we fell in love and it was a beautiful thing. I fell deeply in love with her and, for a while, I honestly believed that one day I would marry her, spend my life with her and have kids with her.
She told me that God had told her to break up with me
One day, she rang me up and told me that we couldn’t be together anymore. She told me that God had told her to break up with me. A week later I found out that she’d been interested in another guy at the time.
So it took me five years to love someone, five years recovering from my parent’s divorce and learning to trust again – and then the first person who I loved, who I trusted, let me down. That hit really hard too.
“Looking for a pity party, eh?”
Now, saying all that, I could just sound like I’m looking for a pity party. I could just sound as if I want a flood of emails, tweets and a torrent of phone calls to try and cheer me up. I don’t. No, no, no. Stop typing that Facebook message. I'm fine. Really, I am.
This is going to sound shocking but, in a way, I'm glad all these things happened to me. I'm not saying I'd stick my hand up to go through them all again, but I wouldn't trade them away either. Not for anything.
In part 2, I'm going to talk about why.