The Greatest of These is Love

According to our fabulous dictionary, disappointed is defined as “sad or displeased because someone or something has failed to fulfill one’s hopes or expectations.”

I call BULL! At least that’s what my raging inner critic is screaming. The chic inside who protects me from the hurts of the world. She’s standing on her soapbox demanding to be heard! “We are not disappointed simply by our own hopes and expectations being unfulfilled but more so by the absolute refusal of others to KEEP THEIR WORD…. To FOLLOW THROUGH with their COMMITMENTS.” Ouch… But here’s the thing, I cannot deny that I am overwhelmed by my own sadness – my disappointment that people do not follow through, people do not really think of other’s first. Wow, do I believe this?

I do. I think we want to believe that we put the needs of others first, but do we? Do we want to? Don’t get me wrong, I think in a million ways, many people do think of others with grace and respect, with kindness and giving, but mostly in small fleeting moments. Either as an afterthought, or in response to guilt or obligation. I don’t know if this has always been the way in our culture, but I believe it is absolutely the way in our current climate. Most people are terribly self-consumed. Whether in a dark manipulative narcissistic way, or in a swimming with sharks put up your defenses way – we are all guilty of being overly self-consumed.

But is that the source of disappointment; are we honestly to blame for “expecting too much?” What is too much? Who decides? Because here’s the thing, it was commented to me recently, “hoping you are not disappointed with our study.” Referring to a bible study that I was attempting to lead. A bible study that was requested and agreed upon in advance. (I couldn’t even type that sentence without feeling shame for “complaining,” but am I?) A bible study I asked others to join, if they wanted, no pressure. I tried not to overthink or over plan, doing my best to follow God’s lead. Putting forth what He asked, without expectation, but still I found myself expecting.

I don’t think I was expecting much, honestly. Dammit that’s the thing – I really don’t think I expect much ever, but life says otherwise. But I’m not going to analyze that today. Honestly, all I expected was a little communication. Social media is crushingly bizarre to me, watching people stalk in the background, hovering but never committing. At least not to anything truly tangible. At this point in my life, I really don’t care what people think of my opinion on social media. It’s hilarious to me that when I am honest about my view of the disconnect that is social media; I get looks of disgust, disbelief, and disappointment. These responses bewilder me – can people not see that wrapped in the imaginings of constant connect is epic disconnect? I know the arguments, I’ve heard them all, and I get it. It is wonderful to connect to people from all around the world, but….

Let’s get back to my disappointment. Am I disappointed? Hell yeah, I’m disappointed! Anyone whoever says they’re above being wounded by the sword of disappointment is lying. Why am I disappointed? Expectations? Sure. Shattered! But that’s not really the whole picture, the truth is I have an energy that consumes and bathes me in all that others do – a complete baptism of the senses. Honestly unwanted. It would be easy to say that I read too much into things, situations, people, but on most accounts, I am rarely wrong. Something I do not intend to be proud of. So, I sit back, and I see. I see people giving their word and making commitments, only to back out and shift that energy to other things. Intangible things, cell phones, and computer screens.

When did we stop connecting on a real level? A quick word. A greeting. A touch. A glance. A face-to-face conversation. I honestly think the clear majority of us are missing the point of it all. Overwhelmed by “wants” cloaked in the idea of need, forever seeking and chasing happiness in things and the acceptance of others. I’m guilty of the latter, but I wasn’t always. A five-year brain flip has taken acceptance found in accomplishment and replaced it with the nagging question of why, on a personal level, I am not good enough.

I’ve never wanted much in life, never wanted to collect friends like they were prizes along my journey. Calling every person I converse with my best friend. No, I’m an all-or-nothing type, which I’m certain is the source of my doom. I don’t do anything halfway, that’s who I am, and I’m tired of feeling as if I need to apologize for it. I spent my entire life guarded. A lesson taught to me by my Mom – a lifelong lesson. I learned young to keep my thoughts to myself, building walls to protect me from the disappointment of lies and broken promises. The kind masked in the idea of love and compassion, ripped away and stomped on by the ugliness of unworthiness.

I found a way to cope, a way to survive the skin-crawling itch of feeling everything, for everyone, all while never quite fitting anywhere. All I wanted was one person to talk to, someone who would listen, and see. Someone that would be there for me, as much as I was for them. The one person who wouldn’t throw guilt my way for being weak, for being human. I’ve been surrounded by brokenness my entire life, but never given allowance to be broken. Oh, I’ve snapped, I’ve shown my hand in the past, before my accident. But these moments were rare, usually brought on by months, years of bullying and heartbreak. Without hesitation, I was always made to feel that my brokenness was somehow worse than that of every person around me.

Which brings me full circle to my disappointment – am I disappointed? Yes. I am. I’m tremendously saddened by our cultures lack of true fellowship and friendship. I’m terrified by the fact that our first instinct is to hide from the world, to disconnect and isolate. All while telling ourselves we’re still connected, because we have the internet. Leaving us with the illusion, or delusion that we can scan our news feed and know how a person is doing. That if a person posts from time-to-time or posts something positive and sunny, then all must be well. We mustn’t pretend otherwise. We hang on the fringes of the life we were meant to live, oblivious to the truth until it’s too late.

I’ve always heard that youth is wasted on the young, well I think death is wasted on the dead. We spend an immense amount of energy in people when they are on their way out, or after they have left us. I am not condemning this, but it makes me curious… why do we wait until the end, to respond in love? Why are we wasting the life God gave us? When it’s all stripped away, when one’s purpose is no longer defined by labels and achievements, all that’s left is the true purpose of life. We know this at the end, when we see our end or that of another’s, we see it, we feel it. So, why are we ignoring it IN LIFE?

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8

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