13. Science

One of the clearly discernible laws of life is that we can both check and contract habits; and when we begin our day, we can begin it if we will by prayer and aspiration and resolution, as much as we can begin it with bath and toilet. We can say, “I will live resolutely to-day in joy and good-humour and energy and kindliness.” Those powers and possibilities are all there; and even if we are overshadowed by disappointment and anxiety and pain, we can say to ourselves that we will behave as if it were not so;

— Science, Joyous Gard

We’ve all met the pain of disappointment. We feel it when something that we expect or aspire to doesn’t come to pass, when a hope expires. Disappointment is a difficult sort of sadness in that it calls on us to readjust, to say goodbye to a hope or a dream and to move on.

Acquiring a new hope or dream helps to bridge the chasm of pain. In order to move forward we must focus on some new possibility. But it’s hard to do when the reminder of disappointment follows us around, isn’t it? How is it that we can face life again with the energy and vitality of our earlier dreams? Disillusionment, I think, is a key to overcoming disappointment. Let me explain.

We humans are competitive, and we Americans, especially so. It’s easy to fall prey to the illusion that the world is zero-sum. We see the haves and have-nots, those with jobs and those without, those in groups or clubs and those left out. It is especially so today that people fight for position and power and that we idolize those who have “captured the flag.” You’ve heard it said before that there’s little room at the top.

The most important things in life are not zero-sum, however: creativity and imagination, love and friendship, ideas. Think of the love of Christ. No one wanting is left thirsty. In God’s kingdom there is enough for everyone. And knowing such boundlessness soothes the pain of disappointment. When limits are removed, disappointment suddenly leaves and dreams are restored.

Day 3 Guide

When in the shadow of disappointment, think of those things without limits.

© 2007, Levi Hill

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