Tag Archives: disappointment

How Small We are, How Little We Know

On Sunday evening we attended our church’s Carols by Glowstick service. Last year it couldn’t be held because of Covid and the previous year we had been away and had missed it. I was so excited to be able to attend this year with our daughter, our son-in-law and three grandchildren. Maybe I was too excited. You know how you build things up in your mind and then you are disappointed? So it was with me.

The Christmas carols (all three of them) and other worship songs were very well performed, if a little too modernised for my conservative tastes. The registration and distribution of glowsticks was slick and efficient.

There were extracts from scripture highlighting the Christmas story. All good so far.

Then the preacher came. A visiting preacher, a friend of our pastor and an author, Stephen Pohlmann.

Actually, his talk was good. His field of interest is Christian apologetics. However, in my opinion, it was not a suitable talk for a family service. I had been expecting a family service. I felt for my grandchildren. Weren’t they bored to tears?

Perhaps my expectations had been too high. I had expected to sing well-loved carols interspersed with Bible passages and possibly a short talk suitable for children. What I got was a normal evening service, aimed at the youth and young adults with a couple of carols thrown in.

I was disappointed. I considered writing an email to our pastor telling him so. I was still contemplating this when we went ten pin bowling yesterday. My husband and I play socially in a pensioners’ league. One of the other bowlers, who I know attends our church occasionally, asked if I had been at the carol service and how I had enjoyed it. When I told her about my disappointment, she said she had also been disappointed. Moreover, another bowler, who belongs to another church, had attended the Carols by Glowstick two years ago and had so enjoyed it that she invited friends, including a family with young children to attend the event this year. They were bitterly disappointed. Especially as the children were still young enough to believe in Father Christmas and they were told he wasn’t real.

Spurred on by these people who thought like me, I sent the email yesterday afternoon.

Last night we joined the family for supper. I thought I would ask the grandchildren how they had enjoyed the carols service, expecting them to say it was boring or it was so long.

My granddaughter (12) said she had enjoyed it except the music was too loud. When I asked what part of the service she had enjoyed most, she said, “The talk by Stephen Pohlmann. I’ve read his book.”

It turns out my daughter had bought the book after the service and my granddaughter had read it in two days. My grandson (10) had also enjoyed the talk.

How small we are; how little we know.

So I had to send a subsequent email to the pastor, explaining my grandchildren’s feelings on the matter and to admit that perhaps I was just an old lady trying to hold on to how things were done in the past, consorting with other old ladies trying to do the same. I hope our pastor will be gracious.

I do not know everything and my opinion is not the only one. The sooner I learn that, the better.

We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be cancelled… We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us. “ (1 Cor 13:10, 12 MSG)

My Prayer

Lord Jesus, please give me 3D vision so I can see more than one side of any situation. Please help me to see people through Your eyes and not my own fallen ones. Amen.”

The Mean Claw Machine

I was sitting in my camping chair watching another glorious Bush sunset when a little boy wandered into my view. He dawdled uncertainly, changing direction and then doubling back on himself. I thought he might be lost, perhaps his family had just arrived and he hadn’t orientated himself yet. I went over to him to ask. I saw tears streaming down his face.

His story was almost incoherent but I pieced together the gist of it. He had put money in the claw machine, trying to get a toy and the toy had slipped out of the claw at the last moment.

I knew how he felt. Disappointment is one of the sharpest emotions. I did my best. I tried to explain to him that those machines hardly ever give you the toy. They are just there to take your money. I don’t think I helped much but before too long his mother found him and took him back to camp which turned out to be right next to us.

We’ve all felt the sting of disappointment. With Covid around it is becoming more and more a fact of life:- ask the three little girls, cousins, who had been offered a trip to the pantomime with their grandparents. They even had pretty new dresses for the occasion. This would be the last special outing together before two of the girls move with their family to England. They were already in the theatre when the performance was cancelled because some of the cast tested positive for Covid. Or ask the bride-to-be whose wedding was postponed because her fiancé couldn’t travel to South Africa, or the grandparents who had spent years saving and planning a trip to visit their children and grandchildren in New Zealand and whose flights were cancelled at the last moment – and another two years have passed and they still haven’t managed to go.

Disappointment happens when we feel we have been promised something or have worked towards something and it is snatched from our grasp unexpectedly. If we accept that disappointment is part of everyday life, how do we deal with it?

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16 ESV)

Jesus faced disappointment just like us. He understands. We can be totally honest with Him about our feelings and He will hug us and infuse His strength into us.

My Prayer

Lord Jesus, my high priest, I feel so selfish when I struggle with disappointment. It seems I want my own way and I’m sulking like a child and I just can’t give my disappointment to You graciously. Please soothe me with Your presence and pour Your peace over me. Amen.

The Photographer

Yesterday was our wedding anniversary. Forty two years! I can honestly say we have a very happy marriage.

As we sipped our morning coffee and replied to messages of congratulations, I decided to haul out our wedding album. As I looked at it, I was reminded how disappointed I had always been with my wedding photos. The photographer who took them was an amateur, recommended by a friend of my fiancé and a lot cheaper than a professional photographer. We were on a budget.

My best friend had a beautiful wedding album. The photos were black and white and had a dreamy look. I told our photographer I wanted black and white photos. Instead of looking dreamy, they came out harsh and in high contrast. He caught the family photo in front of the church with us all half in shade and half in sun. He did manage to minimize the shadow to a certain extent during the printing process but there is still a faint line stretching across all of us.

Yesterday, for the first time, instead of thinking about my disappointment, I thought about the photographer.

In those days there were no digital cameras. You got a spool of 36 frames and you had no way of knowing what your camera had captured until you developed and printed them. I can imagine the sick feeling he must have had when he first looked at his photos.

I’ve learned a bit of photography myself since then. I’ve taken photos at parties where some of the faces aren’t even in focus! Fortunately I can quickly delete those and nobody needs to know. Imagine having to submit a contact sheet for examination! A photographer knows a good photo from a bad. If I was disappointed, how must he have felt? I wonder if he ever photographed another wedding? Maybe he learned from his mistakes and got better and better. I’ll never know.

What this incident has shown me, however, is how selfish I still am. I see all events through the narrow focus of myself. After forty two years I am now finally able to release my disappointment with my wedding photos and the photographer. I hope I’ll be able to look at other events in my life and see the bigger picture, not my own selfish feelings.

My prayer

Father God, forgive me for my selfishness. Please give me the eyes to see things the way You see them. Grant me the compassion and understanding of Christ. Amen.

This post is part of JusJoJan