Our move to Columbia, for me, has been about coming full circle. Its been quite a retrospective period of time and I am finding recently, that writing seems to be the best expression of the observations. I turned 50 too, so I guess thats a substantial ingredient in this recipe of retrospection.
This weeks thoughts have melded toward what is real and what is not real. I had a very wise pastor who once told me that in looking for purposeful, long-lasting relationships, that the key ingredient was to come to an understanding that no matter what and no matter who, you will be disappointed at some point in time. It cannot be avoided. How you deal with the disappointment is really what defines your character and integrity. Pastors/Shepherds can be very wise people sometimes!
Now, disappointment comes in all degrees. We are disappointed our children refuse to clean their rooms, or continue to eat in the living room when we remind them its against the rules. There are bigger disappointments, when children and friends make poor choices, that have consequences that cause them to struggle harder than is necessary and then we all know there are the big disappointments. In today's culture, some of those disappointments are automatic "deal breakers". We give up, walk away and don't look back.
Now be patient with me and follow my train of thought here. In my retrospection this week, I have thought about the Savior and his teaching us about forgiveness. More importantly, I have thought about Heavenly Father and as his child, how does he handle me when I have really disappointed him? Does he walk away from, give up and never look back? OR, does he counsel me on my err, (reprove with sharpness) and then put his arms around me and (or sometimes in the form of those we have even disappointed) and show an increase in love. It is only when we walk away from our Father in Heaven that we run into bigger issues.
Now, with that perspective on the ones that disappoint, its also a perspective on what we can do as the disappointed ones. If those we care for, our friends, children, loved ones, disappoint us, even with deep disappointment, its our responsibility to pattern our response after the Father. Reprove with sharpness (clarity) - that means boundaries, honesty all done with as much grace and graciousness as one can muster. Then, as we work together as families and friends, show the increase of love that is needed to reach the other side and rejoice in goodness and mercy!
Some disappointments take longer than others. Patience is needed. But love, hope, and faith, these three, can change both the one who has disappointed us and those who have been disappointed.