Dealing with Disappointment

It is so hard to acknowledge disappointment. It comes in many forms: friends who have let us down; experiences that weren’t up to what we had imagined; relationships that fizzled; even a longed for meal that just doesn’t live up to the hype. In any of these situations, we usually don’t confront the person or the situation with our disappointment. Rather we sulk on our own or share the disillusionment with a close friend. I thought this was it, but it wasn’t. Imagine inadvertently sharing our cynicism with the very person who disappoints! This is the reality of these two pathetic followers of Jesus on the road to Emmaus as they tell the man they are walking with their sad reality: “We thought he was the one.”

Taking that line by itself, it sounds so sad. All the hopes and dreams of these two men and their friends had been placed in this Jesus and he was crucified and it all seemed over. How often have we felt the same way? The beauty of this Gospel scene is that these disciples share their discouragement with the one and only person who can do something about it. So what does Jesus do? He walks with them. He spends time with them. And in the process, he shares the Scriptures with them. And ultimately, he breaks bread with them. If there be a better solution to disappointment, I don’t know it.

Today let us acknowledge the ways in which we have found life somewhat less than what we had hoped. Let us accurately recognize where our lives just don’t add up – where we feel unfulfilled. And instead of sulking or whining to a friend, let us walk with Jesus and share with him our misgivings and the ways in which our lives are not what we hoped for and need. And then, let us open our ears to hear him in the Scriptures and come to him in the Eucharist. Then we too can say with these disciples: “Were not our hearts burning as he walked with us on the road.” May we come to know that life will always bring us challenges that disappoint. Bringing them to Jesus is the only way that they can be transformed into victory.

Peace,

Fr. Mike
fr.mike@duke.edu  c. 919-316-8763 / w. 919-684-1882
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