I must confess, I have had to learn the hard way that having expectations has sometimes resulted in poor outcomes. Take, for example, the fact that I love forget me nots and I would expect that I should be able to grow them on my windowsill, since they’re just wildflowers. Each time I see those little flower pots during the springtime at Target, I think, “Wow! I can have some of these amazing wildflowers in my home and maybe transplant them to my backyard so I can enjoy them every year.” Well, easier said than done my dear reader!
Each year for like the last five years I’ve tried to grow forget me nots and each year I’ve gotten nothing. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Some years I’ve gotten no sprouts, other years I’ve gotten a few sprouts, and then they died. The last time I tried growing them, I really threw my heart into nurturing these lovely blooms and got several sprouts followed by the appearance of a longer stems and pairs of leaves much to my delight. But, I kept waiting and waiting for more results. Nothing but green. When they got to be about 5-6 inches tall still with no buds I said to my husband, “I don’t understand this. What’s wrong here? Where are the blossoms?” He had no answer for me, but by early May he offered to transplant those barren sprouts into the far corner of our yard and said, “We’ll let nature take its course and see if anything happens.” #notexactlyoptimistic
I totally forgot about those stubborn little seedlings until early September when we were in our back yard and my hubby said, “Hey, take a look in the corner of the yard. I think you’re going to be surprised!” So I walked over and I could not believe my eyes. There were those forget me nots that I started as seedings at Easter and now they were in full bloom, but not looking like any forget me nots I’ve ever seen before! They we tall and beautiful and unlike anything I was expecting.
I assumed the flowers were going to be short and pale blue and acting like a type of ground cover as I was used to seeing in my neighborhood. Quite to the contrary, they were tall and vibrant blue and making their own statement in their little corner or our yard.
I can’t help but to compare this example to a billion other times I was expecting one thing and quite surprisingly received another result – often to my delight and occasionally to my disappointment. This year alone I had many expectations about endeavors that made me anxious, but they turned out to be such immense blessings: I began co-teaching sixth grade religion classes with a dear friend and I have been so blessed by the wonderful students and staff at my church plus the blessing of spending more time with my friend and reminding myself of the beauty of my faith; I started writing this blog and never would have dreamed that I would enjoy so much the process of putting my thoughts down and not being overly concerned about the result of how many views, comments, or likes I’ve gotten (though I am always humbled and grateful when they appear); earlier this year the thought of driving nine hours to Maine had me dreading the vacation we had planned until I asked my nieces and nephews that were traveling in our caravan to be passengers in our car and with all the wonderful conversation and trivia games we played – it made the time fly like it was a one hour trip; and I always wanted to start a weekly badminton night but never dreamed it possible with all the logistics involved until, on a whim earlier this year, I ran the idea past some dear friends who were integral in making it a reality and now I have the most fun ever while exercising every week.
Expectations can sometimes rob me of my joy and anticipation, most often felt when my prayer intentions go unanswered, especially when praying for so long and so hard for a sick family member or friend, a reversal of some difficulty, or better outcome for myself. But I will always remember the lesson of the forget me nots – things did not turn out as I had expected, but they turned out in a way I never dreamed of and I think God allows us our expectations, but in the end HE always has a better plan. “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Cor. 2:9).”
What expectations have recently surprised you?