Photo by Andalusia on Morgue File.
Tell us about a time things came this close to working out… but didn’t. What happened next? Would you like the chance to try again, or are you happy with how things eventually worked out?
Close defeats, if we want to term them that, are the hardest to deal with often times. It is like a sporting event, say football. If your team plays a game this weekend and by halftime they are losing by thirty or forty points; you probably know, barring a miracle, your team will lose the game. As a fan, I think sometimes those loses are the easiest to swallow. Even before the game ends, you are resigned to the fact of the defeat. In many ways, it makes it easier to handle.
But, when your team is in it, they have a chance to win, or maybe are winning, right up until the last play or so . . . and then, lose: it is a crushing defeat. When you get blown out you don’t much worry about a play or two here or there. You realize you just got it handed to you, so there is no sense in running through the game again. But, when you barely lose, when victory is so close, you go over those plays time and time again. You run through the scenarios of what ifs and could haves and should haves.
The close ones hurt the most.
Now, don’t misunderstand me, I realize as a fan, you want your team competitive. You want your team vying for the victory in the waning seconds of the game. No fan wants their team to be the laughing-stock of the league. No fan likes watching their team get blown out of a game. But, those are easier to deal with and move on then the close loses. The close ones are the agonizing ones.
It is much the same way in life as well. When there is something in life you want or desire, but you realize, again barring a miracle, it is not going to happen, you tend to move on quicker. But, when there is that something that you come oh so tantalizingly close to and just miss it . . . that’s the one that stings. That’s the one you will be kicking yourself over for years to come. That’s the one you will be playing over and over in your head: what if, could have, should have, if only and on and on it goes.
Disappointment is a fact of life. For most, it does not take much living to learn this fact.
Of course, disappointment is not all bad, is it? I mean, if you never wanted anything, if you never strove for something. If you never applied yourself to some goal or allowed your heart to have some dream or desire, there would be no such thing as disappointment. Disappointment at least shows we are trying, we are reaching for something.
Of course, what we are reaching for may be unrealistic or even something not good for us. We may need to learn those lessons too from disappointment. Sometimes disappointment is a blessing in disguise.
But, even when we may feel we are trying to attain to some good or noble thing and we come up short, there is still something to be learned. We do not have to become a fatalist or nihilistic. We do not have to shrug our shoulders and give up the cause. Those who have made the biggest impacts on the world are those who experienced disappointment and failure; but, who still got back up and continued on. No it is not easy to do, but nothing worth anything ever is.
Often times these lessons are learned over time. When the wound is fresh and the disappointment still has its sting, the lesson is hard, if not impossible to grasp. Time not only heals, but it gives clarity as well.
As a Christian, I am called to trust God during those times of success and those times of disappointment. Of course, these come in many stripes. Not all successes are necessarily blessings from God. Sometimes I may go rogue, so to speak, and gain a success or two (at least by my definition), but not be doing what God wants me to do. Conversely, not all disappointments or failures are a sign of God’s displeasure. Only God, by his Holy Spirit, can truly give us insight, wisdom and perspective in these matters.
But, again, my call is to trust. I am to rely upon his love and goodness, not on my own understanding. I am to seek his way and will, not my own.
My testimony should echo that of the apostle Paul’s, when he declared:
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2.20)