Monday, December 20, 2010

Not What I Expected

When I was a kid, Christmas was a problem for me. I mean, it wasn’t just Christmas, but Christmas illustrates the problem.

I was one of those kids: I would build it up so much in my mind that when the actual day arrived, there was no way it could compete with the fantasy I had created. The food was good, but not quite as good as I had anticipated. The presents were great, but they never really satisfied like I thought they would. And if there was no snow, well, there you go. There’s nothing worse than a green Christmas.

In my own heart, this has been a thing I’ve had to deal with my whole life. I have a very good imagination. I can “envision” things. I can construct complex ideals in intricate ways within my heart. You might say I have big dreams. And I am surrounded by the phantoms of life, screaming with their common sense voices, “Wake up!”

Another example: One of the things that has kept me from recording music over the years is the fact that I have tried it and the results were always much less satisfying than the version I could hear in my head. I have now reached a point where I may be able to get something done right - we are at least trying - but I kind of worry about it in a way.

And it’s not just the music. I feel this way about a lot of things. The reality falls way short of the vision.

But it’s also true that, in some ways, life is much better than I ever expected. I never expected marriage to be such a great thing, and it’s the best thing that ever happened to me, apart from the work of God in my life. And I never had a single clue about what a joy being a dad would be. But it is revolutionary to the heart, soul and mind. I never thought about working in the Church for a living, not seriously. But that’s where I am and it is an honor every day.

In the end, I realize that my expectations are not the stuff of life. They can guide some of my decisions, but reality has a taste of mystery to it that I have had to learn to embrace because I can’t figure it out and I’m honestly getting tired of trying. The world inside my head does not define the world on the outside. And, while I don’t need to abandon my dreams, I do need to be sure I have a good and meaningful connection with what is real.

I can imagine a great Christmas, or a great whatever.

But simply enjoying the one I have can be a much better thing sometimes.

Peace to you.
© LW Publishing 2010

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