noun ex·pec·ta·tion \ˌek-ˌspek-ˈtā-shən, ik-\
: a belief that something will happen or is likely to happen : a feeling or belief about how successful, good, etc., someone or something will be
(2015, January 1). Retrieved March 12, 2015, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expectation
Last weekend afforded me the opportunity to consider expectation and its ability to rob us of the NOW in a unique way…
It had been several months since I have seen my “one and only son” (just that statement should tip you off that I had front-loaded expectation into my trip). The plan was to fly into Richmond, VA and spend the evening with dear friends, get up the next morning (Saturday) and head to Washington, D.C. to watch C.J. play lacrosse, then off to a parent-athlete post-game fellowship, then a drive back to Lynchburg, VA that would include Starbucks and deep, insightful conversation…culminating with an introduction over coffee with a lovely young woman my son recently started dating. Sunday would be a great day of worship, lunch, hiking or antiquing followed by dinner at a hipster joint downtown…this time would be filled with laughter, theological conversation, etc. When I say I front-loaded my weekend with expectation I wasn’t kidding.
So I boarded my plane in Ft. Myers and somewhere between buckling my seatbelt and taking off the expectation train began to derail…you knew it was coming!
My flights to Richmond were delayed, making my meaningful time with friends sweet but bleary conversation because it was 1:30 in the morning.
I woke up Saturday ready for my 2-½ hours drive to D.C. to watch my #1 son play lacrosse. Two exits into my trip an accident closed down all four lanes of I-95. 5-½ hours later I arrived at the field to watch the teams shake hands as they concluded the game. One brave mother attempted to engage me with conversation and I had to say, “Please excuse me, I just need a minute”…that was an understatement. I wanted to scream and cry, and no one’s sympathy was going to diffuse it!
We got back in the car and headed to the “fellowship”. Normally I would have enjoyed this, but now I had already lost time and was ready for the meaningful drive back to Lynchburg. After hours of driving and sitting, I was not on my conversational “A” game. My son, after playing lacrosse and being up since the early hours of the morning could barely connect his thoughts with the words coming out of his mouth. Instead of deep and meaningful conversation, we played “don’t step on the land mine”…a.k.a. avoid talking or asking questions that seem redundant, nagging, or probing. I was now entering the un-met expectation vortex.
After winding through 100 plus miles of pitch-black mountain roads, we picked up C.J.’s new friend, a lovely girl who I struggled to communicate with due to exhaustion, both physical and emotional (she was great, by the way).
The night ended on a low note when I arrived at the hotel. As soon as I got in my car alone the tears started flowing. My expectations were dashed and self-pity took over.
The next morning, we forgot it was daylight savings time and missed the first church service. We made it to the 12:30 and were blessed by an amazing morning of worship, testimonies, and baptism celebrations.
A little lunch, a nap and an evening hike rounded out the rest of the day…again, I was struggling.
Dinner was our last time together. By then I had let go of what hadn’t been and chose to savor what I had…precious few hours to enjoy my son and appreciate God’s work in his life, to enjoy his sense of humor, and to thank God for the gift of motherhood.
It breaks my heart to consider the number of times I have sucked the joy out of life before it ever occurred, creating a scenario and determining roles for those I love most, who never asked to be cast in my “expectation play”.