Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Get Used to Disappointment

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
and the sanity to know that you don’t exist;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know that it’s a just a roll of the dice. 

Get used to disappointment is just a pirate's way of saying practice acceptance. This is a Zen pirate. He sails the seven seas, resisting his craving for gold, seeking instead to calm the raging seas inside himself. Of course, he never resists the opportunity to grab some booty. He’s not crazy. Just calm.

Disappointment is directly tied to hope. Remember when mom used to say, “Don’t get your hopes up.” She knew that Disappointment Eve was just around the corner, and she hadn’t yet hung the stockings by the chimney with care.

Emily Dickinson famously wrote, “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul -- and sings the tunes without the words -- and never stops at all.” Of course, Emily was a shut-in, who most likely knew a thing or two about disappointment.

Red in The Shawshank Redemption says “Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.” One my favorite philosophers, Mad Max, says “…hope is a mistake.” It pays off in disappointment dividends. Hope is a losing investment, but we just can’t help ourselves. To hope is human, and to disappoint is divine.

I have a habit of disappointing myself and those closest to me on a regular basis. One might think that my middle initial stood for Disappointment rather than Douglas. I’ve always been my own harshest critic, but I also let myself skate free when I should shackle myself to the grindstone of life, until I get it right. Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it breeds consistency. I seem to be carrying my disappointment around like Pigpen and this cloud of disappointment is following me about, like it’s about to rain shame and judgment upon me.

I’m married to my third wife, so I obviously disappointed the first two. I never want to disappointment my son, but I’m human and I leave a trail of mistakes behind as I journey through life. My shining star is always my son, and his amazing ability to love unconditionally and forgive without condition. I wish I could delete the many disappointments that I have introduced into my family’s life, and fill those moments with cherry pie and cute woodland creatures, but my time machine is sitting in the backyard with engine problems and mold, growing on the interior. I don’t think it would get me back to yesterday at this point.

I am a disappointment artist. I am the Duke of Disappointment. The downbeat devil himself. I admit that freely, but not without some shame. What is the opposite of disappointment? Satisfaction, but it’s never guaranteed. I don’t live to disappointment others. It’s unfortunate that those closest to me are unlucky enough to see me at my worst. My worst is worse than liverwurst, but today is another opportunity to do right, and leave disappointment in the dust. I just need to take a right turn at the bottom of the hill, and never look back.

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