The Queen of Disappointed Hopes

Do you remember the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, how Ferris was this charmed guy for whom parades formed and seas parted all so he could play hookey with his girlfriend? And, of course, his friend, whatever his name was. We don’t remember his name because he is that guy for whom nothing ever worked out. Nothing went his way.

I am that guy, er, girl.

As I sipped my lukewarm coffee and looked at the overcast sky and too tall grass, I was suddenly flooded with the recollections of a young girl looking at her life and thinking, “If something bad has to happen, it’s going to happen to me.”  I always felt like the girl who got the short end of the stick, the one who missed out on good stuff because I wasn’t rich enough or pretty enough or cool enough.  I was the one with bad luck.  I’ll spare you the sob stories; they aren’t important.  The point is that I can distinctly remember thinking these thoughts very early in life – disturbingly early.

I planned a first year photo session for my daughter today.  I have never done a photo session with an actual photographer outside of a Sears Portrait Studio, but I wanted so badly for my daughter to have beautiful one year old pictures.  The best chance I had to get them done in time for her first birthday party was today.  My friend, another mom who happens to take great pictures and have great software to make them nice, graciously agreed to do them for me.  She even got a babysitter for her kids.  But, I could not help but look out the window and see all my hopes for these pictures wash away with the possible rain looming overhead.

And it’s not a big deal, and nobody’s fault, but I felt the familiar twinge of “Figures.  Should’ve known better.  Just my luck.”  It’s funny how a seemingly small, inconsequential situation can bring up the buried issues in our lives.

I looked at my smiling daughter.  Her name is Anna June, and she is exactly the graceful light of early summer her name denotes.  And she deserves every good thing I can give her, not because she has done anything incredible (Let’s be honest – she’s one. All she’s really done in the last year is eat, sleep, poop, and start moving around a bit.).  She deserves the best I can give her because she is my daughter.  That’s it.

Can you see where I’m going with this yet?

Somewhere in my childhood, I allowed situations to tell me I was the queen of disappointed hopes, the unlucky one, the one for whom nothing would ever work out.  I said it so much I believed it.  I believed it so well, it became true.  And those seeds of self-loathing grew in my soul, preparing the ground for the dark and dangerous depression that held me captive for years.  Years.

And now, at nearly thirty years old, with two children under my care, I worry that they will be the heirs of my self-appointed labels.  There are many things they could inherit from me, but this attitude should not be one of them.

Not because they are perfect or “charmed,” but because they are my children.

Can you hear the voice of the Father?

Yes, I am talking about how God sees us.  Somewhere along the line, His children believed a lie about themselves.  They believed it so well, it became true.

But He has called us something different.  He has called us heirs of the Kingdom, a royal priesthood, His sheep, His beloved.

And not because of anything we’ve done.  Let’s be honest – mostly we just gripe and complain and move around a bit.  He calls us these things because we are His.  And the only way to receive those blessings is to claim them.  We have to stop taking in everything the world gives us and believing that we are doomed to failure.  We must rebuke the belief that we are unique in our misfortunes and stop comparing our lives to those around us who seem to have it all together.  We have to learn to have faith enough to agree with the one who made us and not with this broken and fallen and disappointment-prone world.

We are not the masters of disappointed hopes. None of us.  Not even Cameron.

Yes, his name is Cameron.  And, one last word of encouragement: if you’ve never felt like Cameron, then someone near you does.  Probably someone with whom you share a home, a bed, or a table in the back of the lunchroom.  Buy that person some flowers or a cup of coffee and love him/her the way God does.  That person needs a happy ending, too.