Monday, January 26, 2015

Disappointing Returns

I have had trouble writing this post. It is not that I have not written or made an effort. It is not that I have not walked. But I have thought much about, and spent the past couple of weeks trying to walk off, disappointment, and it is difficult, I see, to write about such a subject without sounding like one is feeling sorry for oneself. Part of this is because of feeling sorry for myself.

Part of the problem is also in trying to define just what one is disappointed about, and whether or not that disappointment is reasonable. Every human being is going to be disappointed in something and someone, and sometimes that disappointment comes because a person or thing has not lived up to reasonable standards; sometimes the standards or expectations are not reasonable. I'm convinced that in most instances of human interaction, the truth is somewhere in between. And rarely will one take the time to put on the glasses required to see one's one part in this.

Much of my disappointment lately is not about what I expect of others that is reasonable or unreasonable, but in what I fear those shortcomings may mean for my future. This fear is a killer. For example, if someone I love makes a promise and does not come through, not because of neglect or ill will, but just because life gets in the damn way, I too often let myself think that the future holds the same disconnection or hurt. But fear obscures reality by making us see a possible, but unrealized, future.

you are infused in me
part of the yesterday
i half remember
and as i age
i am terrified
by the shedding of skin

I've been reading Seeds of Contemplation, by Zen Catholic Thomas Merton. In it, he says, "As long as we are on earth, the love that unites us will bring us suffering by our very contact with one another, because this love is the resetting of a Body of broken bones." I suspect that "contact" could also be about the desire for contact and what we may think we lack of it. He also writes, "The only true joy on earth is to escape from the prison of our false self, and enter by love into the union with the Life Who dwells and sings within the essence of every creature and in the core of our own souls."

Much pain is caused by telling people to not be disappointed; pain also comes from trying hard to avoid disappointment. On the other hand, it seems we benefit from it when we recognize the jailer, be it a loved one, the devil, or our own self. I pray with great longing for the day I don't look for a key except in the feet God gave me.

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