All too often in life we find ourselves “disappointed” by people, experiencing them doing things that we thought they would not do. This can happen in casual relationships, budding relationships and long-term relationships. For me, it’s happened in all three. Now, however, I realize they never disappointed or did anything to me. Rather they did not satisfy my expectations of what they would do or what they would give me or feel towards me. That’s painful, for sure, but it takes me from being at the “effect” of the event to being at the “cause” of the event – from victim to creator. It also offers me the opportunity to get deeper in touch with my trust that everything in my life is unfolding as it should, according to a Divine plan. What is happening “to” me,” is happening “for” me.
From there, I challenge myself to love the other unconditionally – not for what I hoped they might be, not for what I hoped they might give me but for who they are – a beautiful child of God struggling, stumbling, efforting towards love as I am. Fueled by my self-inflicted pain, it is a beautiful challenge and from that perspective the pain is redemptive not punitive or valueless. That does not mean I have to stay closely involved with them – physically, emotionally, professionally, etc. It just means that by remembering who they are, I remember who I am.