After learning I did not get the job I was really hoping I would be hired for, I've been giving a lot of thought to the relationship between hope and disappointment.
Every broken dream that causes me to cry is a direct result of having reached for a place, a person, a thing, or set of circumstances I want to draw into my life. When what I long for doesn't happen, how badly I feel about it seems to be in direct proportion to how much I had hoped. In my mind, the definition of pain is the distance between what IS and what I hope for. Little distance = little pain. Big distance = devastated, bleeding, bruised and battered heart whimpering in a ball on the floor. (Well, figuratively anyway.) What it comes down to, for me, is this: if I could stop HOPING for certain outcomes then I would never be disappointed.
Recently I allowed my hopes to go flying sky high.
Today, my disappointment has my heart crawling lower than a snake's belly.
So was all that hope a mistake?
I don't think so.
I prefer to hold on to the words of Martin Luther King who said: "We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope."
It is an inevitable part of living in this fallen mortal world that we will all experience some shattered dreams and big disappointments. How we choose to respond to those events will shape how we experience our lives.
Sometimes it may seem a bit masochistic or misguided to keep flinging my heart skyward with hope, giving room for deep longing for certain outcomes to happen. More than one person has recently advised me I'd be better off to practice more "acceptance" and appreciation of whatever actually comes into my life instead of forever chasing passionately after different paths. I know that advice is well intended. But it's not for me. I am determined to keep hope alive.
I am a dreamer at my core. I like being optimistic as I reach for different possibilities. It's not without a price. But it is a price I'm willing to pay. A lot of the things I reach for never come to pass. Some of those missed dreams cause me to shrug my shoulders and say "oh well!". Others have sent me huddled into fetal position wailing for days. But I will accept that risk. I would rather have a life of scars from the crashes than play it safe by never striving. I will take the heartbreak. Because I choose to continue to reach for the stars.