Louie, my adopted pup, and I were walking one beautiful day when we saw one of his pug buddies—or so we thought. His friend Sammy is a tan and black pug with a unique characteristic: his tongue protrudes ever so slightly. I recognized that the person walking him was not his owner. That’s not unusual in our community; many neighbors need others to walk our dogs for various reasons. Louie was excited to see his buddy and could hardly wait to romp and play.
As we approached, I asked if the dog was Sammy, because he had the same markings and same characteristic of a slightly protruding tongue. The person walking him said no. But Louie quickly
ran up to the Sammy look-alike; it did not take him long to realize this was not his buddy, and then he became indignant, as if he was mad at the pug for not being Sammy.
We quickly said our good-byes while Louie kicked up his feet and snarled just to make sure the dog understood he was not even close to being Sammy.
I realized Louie’s expectations for playing with his friend were unmet, and disappointment had quickly set in. Based on all appearances, Louie was expecting to have fun and play, but that
expectation was not to be filled that day.
The majority of us have expectations that, when unmet for whatever reason, will disappoint us. People have a hard time moving on from such setbacks. I think these disappointments occur
because we’ve set ourselves up for failure when we box up our expectations in the hopes that they will be fulfilled.
Instead, what if we had a spirit of expectancy? You may wonder what the difference is between having expectations and having a spirit of expectancy. A spirit of expectancy is what very young
children usually possess. They have the mind-set that something wonderful is about to happen, but with no expectation of specifics. While they may wish for something special, it is their heart of expectancy that is truly magical. It is the hopefulness of something wonderful. For me, that may entail time with my family, but without expectation that the time meets any specific criteria — it is simply time together.
Another example occurred on the holiest of nights. For centuries people expected the messiah to come amongst their midst. In this expectation, they envisioned a king, surrounded by throngs of noble men and women and trumpets blaring. Because of these expectations they missed the wonder of all that took place that quiet, serene night when the stars were brightly shining.
Yet only those with a spirit of expectancy, whose hearts were open to the wonder of what only the Creator of the universe could put into action, witnessed the birth of the King in a simple,
Expectations for particular things and events always run the risk of disappointing us, since many times, events and what others do are out of our control. As we wind down our year, rather than focusing on the disappointments of unmet expectations, let’s look forward with a heart of expectancy and see if that doesn’t lighten our spirits with the hope that something wonderful is
about to happen.
While Louie experienced disappointment by not having his expectations met with the look-alike Sammy, it did not dampen his spirit of expectancy. He still walks out of our home with the hope
that something wonderful is about to happen. Something as simple as seeing a dear neighbor who pats him on the head or gives him belly rubs lends to his heart of wonder.