Disappointment 101

Monday afternoon I took a knife to some lovely ears of corn and prepared corn chowder for dinner.  I loaded everything into my handy Instapot, pushed the appropriate buttons and went back to my desk.  

Pro Tip #1: Corn chowder can go from creamy yellow to blackened char within a matter of minutes if your pressure cooker isn’t properly sealed.

Pro Tip #2: Panera makes a lovely corn chowder and still has curbside delivery.

My response to this “burnt offering” was to sob somewhat uncontrollably for a few minutes, and then reflect on how my reaction was a bit… exaggerated… given it was just a few ears of corn and a bit of my time.  When I drilled down a bit I realized that amongst all the other emotions I was feeling, the prevailing one was disappointment.  Oh yes, there was also anger, sadness, and frustration at this surreal world and the uncertainty and injustice… but, in that moment, what came to the top was overwhelming disappointment.

The literature suggests that disappointment is generally caused by a disconnect between our expectations and the resulting reality.  Unchecked it often gives way to rage or apathy, however, if we take the time to examine why we are feeling this way it can give us incredible insight into what we value.

As we begin to return to our sanctuaries, I encourage you to make time to discuss the disappointment that we all will inevitably feel.  Yes, it will be wonderful to be back in sacred space and to see each other’s eyes… but it won’t be the same.  Plan to talk through the experience with your leadership so that your community can benefit from learning more about what you really value.  How do those values compare with those you’ve previously claimed? Dig out your mission and/or vision statement.  Is there resonance there, or a disconnect?  How does that inform your understanding of your congregation?

Disappointment may sound like a second-tier emotion – it doesn’t have the same flair as anger or the numbing nature of depression, but its impact can be significant.  Ignore it at your peril.  And, stir your soup.

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