Beautifully Disappointing

disappointmentWe’ve all been disappointed. We’ve gotten a new car and a few weeks later, we’re disappointed in it. We’ve accepted the new job and, after a few years, it’s not so fulfilling like it was. We’ve gone on the vacation only to find it not as exciting as we hoped. A lot of things are disappointing. But this disappointment can be a beautiful thing.

Disappointment can be beautiful when we’re expecting to be fulfilled from a source that’s not meant to fulfill us. We are supposed to be disappointed by these things when we’re looking for fulfillment from them. The disappointment is good because then we look elsewhere to find the fulfillment we are seeking.

We look for fulfillment in a lot of places such as:

  • our job
  • our marriage
  • our purchases
  • our house
  • our friends

We hop from thing to thing hoping we’ll be fulfilled. The problem is that we don’t get fulfilled by external sources. At this point most of you who are religious would say that we get fulfilled by God, but in my experience, even this isn’t guaranteed.

In my experience, we are fulfilled by what we give, not by what we receive. In 2005 when I had my first heart attack, I asked myself, “Did I love people well?” and “Did my life matter?” These questions are answered well only by what I contribute, not by what I get.

So next time we are disappointed instead of asking, “What is he/she/it not providing me?” we should ask, “What am I not contributing?” In my job, in my marriage, in my life, if I’m disappointed, I should be asking, “Am I contributing in a positive way that makes me feel fulfilled?”


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