Dealing with Disappointment

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For years I have made my dogs a part of my service to God. This spring I planned to have one final litter, a merging of bloodlines I have been working with. But as it turned out, there were no puppies and it’s too late to try again. Along time of planning – nearly 20 years in the making – and now the dream has collapsed. Isn’t that the way so many of our dreams and plans end up? I think of the disciples – following this new radical leader, they were sure their vision of a messiah was about to come true. Then suddenly, there was disappointment with no hope for the future they had imagined, dreamt of, worked for. They must have felt lost, and maybe even abandoned by God. Perhaps they felt that God had failed in His part of the bargain, the old covenant that promised them a messiah.

The disciples in today’s Gospel were on their way to Emmaus, a town noted for its ability to fill the desires of those gone astray. They were journeying away from Jesus, whose death was contrary to their image of the messiah. But the risen Christ had other plans for them. It wasn’t until they put their own goals away and took up with Christ again, when they offered hospitality to the stranger, that they rediscovered the Christ -the Way of God. It’s at that point that they hurry back to rejoin the rest of the disciples and shared their encounter with their friends.

The journey to Emmaus was interrupted by a meal. When Jesus appears to the disciples gathered in Jerusalem, he again takes food with them. At the last supper, Jesus had said he would not eat again with the disciples until the Kingdom of God had come, so by his actions, the statement is made and confirmed that the Kingdom of God has indeed arrived. Christ’s death did not break the covenant God had made.

I wonder how God feels when we fail in our part of the covenant promises. OK, perhaps God the Father doesn’t “feel” in the same way we do, but Christ was fully human. He must have experienced that kind of disappointment. He must have felt let down when he was unable to get his message through to the disciples. Does he feel the same disappointment when we today fail to “get” his message, when we choose to follow our path rather than the one God has laid out for us?

What can I do about my current discouragement – how does this Gospel relate to my problems? Perhaps I was on the way to Emmaus – journeying away from the place God wants me to be. I was focused on fulfilling my plans and dreams and not listening to what God was trying to tell me. By turning around and facing God, by inviting Him to share in my life every day, I should be able to change my focus. And maybe if I can do that, I will be able to see that the Kingdom of God has truly come and been opened to me. I just have to be going His way, not mine. And if I set my goals to honor the covenant, I will please Jesus, my best friend, instead of bringing him so much disappointment. Yes, that’s it. I need to focus on averting His disappointment, not mine. And if puppies aren’t in His plan, I will take it on faith that whatever is planned is better.

Linda Crowley