I made my way down to the corridor. Bumping into some familiar friends, we carried the dinner that piled on our plates and stood beside the flight of stairs. None of us seemed to mind (or care) about the unconventional seating plan and humid ambiance (it was early November- the Malawi “summer” had kindly eradicated Junes “chiperoni” breeze). It was clear that our heads needed a momentary escape into a world where the only seemingly pressing agenda was nothing. The verbal rendez-vous picked up in laughter and nostalgic memories of past experiences. A fair number of us had embarked on a new chapter whilst the others were on the verge of finishing. Eager to know how the story ends, we probed mercilessly at the finite details of life’s book so that we may be better “prepared”. It was blatantly obvious that no amount of “reading” could adequately ready us for the chapter ahead. The pile on the plates diminished. The feathery air soon became weightier as tales and silent observations of human archives unraveled themselves, piling heavy sentiments on our hearts. We were all on a journey. A journey that hoped for wonder, adventure and a little more. Reading ahead from the others, it was flawlessly clear that the road ahead was not a one-man trip. It had people. I gleamed forward thinking about the shoves and pushes I’d need along the way. Admittedly or not, both they and I needed a support system (“if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” ). The wanting of a helping hand and authentic cheer from life’s camaraderie’s seemed ideal. And that is when the elephant walked in. Across the “dinner floor” bloomed sagas of unmet expectations from those who promised to hold them up. The somberness in their voice echoed disappointment yet it was not cemented in hurt. They all seemed to attest to the disenchantment that faithfully follows the “shortcomings” of our flawed relationships with those around us. Nonetheless, like a sunrise at dusk, and with deep seated conviction, they unanimously echoed their seemingly unwavering disposition: “we know they mean well.”
“the best of their abilities but not the best of our expectations”
Love; the epitome of our human experience culminating in joys that seem beyond our galaxy. Yet we find ourselves toppling from its summit, landing flat on our hearts when the displeasure of disappointment and failure seem to stream from those we love. It is quite disheartening when it appears that we are the only ones holding our end of the stick. Whether friend, sibling or spouse, our hearts feel discouraged when those we love fail to express the sentiments we expect from them. Unfulfilled promises and unmet expectations soon fulfil our conceived ideology of who they are. As moments turn into days and days into years, the walls erect themselves clouding the love we so desired. The damage is real. The hurt is palpable. I’ll admit that there are those who are abusive in their sentiments and whose end of their stick is never touched let alone held. Yet, there are those who mean well. Those who do hold their end of the stick to the best of their abilities but not to the best of our expectations. Failure to express does not always equate to the absence of love. It may not even be a failure to express love on their end but a failure to rightly perceive on ours. Our pre-conceived ideas (whether good or bad) have a tendency of creating an ideal that clouds the rays of sunshine from touching our skin. Ever felt like God does not love you? Have you ever asked yourself why? Often times it stems from a mismatch of what is in our minds and what is true. “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?…I cry by day, but You do not answer…Yet You are holy…You are He who brought me forth from the womb .” Though David’s mind felt that God was far because of his unwanted predicaments, which appeared unmet, truth told Him that God was readily there for Him. What if, perhaps, the rays of love we so wish to see and feel, are clouded by our expectations creating shadows of doubt and discontentment on our end? What if they really do mean well? What if they really do care? As the mist clears and as the clouds partition we come to this shattering yet restoring truth: the sun was always shining behind the clouds .
God has placed people in our lives who genuinely and authentically hold our hands; people who love on us even in our most unlovable state. In a broader sense, He does this to remind us daily of the great love He has for us. Let them love you. Let God love you.
At His Feet…
- African Proverb
- Psalm 22:1,3,9
- Unconditional (2012), Film