Friday, April 22, 2005

The Hardest Thing

What I've learned so far in life is that rejections are not the hardest part: disappointment is.

Whether it's disappointment in one's self, disappointment in someone else or disappointing someone else, the presences of disappointment takes the reins far too often in my life.

My mom would say that she spanked me when I was growing up, but I don't remember that. What I remember most, and remember fearing the most, was disappointment. While most kids feared the phrases, "Bend over" or "Get the paddle," I feared the phrase, "I'm so disappointed in you."

There were times in my life when I knew I did something wrong or had information my parents should know. Usually, I would hide. At least, at first. However, after a few minutes in the dark closet or under the bed, I would feel the threat of impending disappointment. Knowing that I my faults required discipline, I also learned early on that running from the inevitable discipline only increased it's term or severity. I also knew that if I didn't face up to responsibility, my father would be "very disappointed" in me.

So, I squiggled out from under the bed or pushed through the pleats and sleeves to face the music: face my responsibilities.

Lately I have regressed to that little girl who runs for cover when things go awry. I know I have a responsibility to step up to in this life: to live and be joyful. This is probably the greatest responsibility I will ever face and if I don't, the repercussions will surely devastate. I need to face my responsibility and take whatever consequences result from my decisions-- be they good or bad.

Unlike that little girl, however, I am not going to simply sit on my bed and wait for a punishment. I am not going to sit by in fear and trepidation, stiff-lipped and blurry-eyed. I don't have to wait with steely conviction to appease my accuser and confess my errors.

No, this time I won't wait for disappointment to threaten my character before I step up. Because this time I know the accuser has no power over my intercessor. I know impending disappointment is rebuked by grace, rebuffed by mercy. I don't have to fear because I love and am loved. And, if I'm not mistaken, there is no fear in love. Nor is there disappointment or guilt or shame.

There are, however, actions and reactions, causes and effects, consequences and responsibilities.

And that is okay.