Have you ever anticipated something so much for so long that, when it finally came to pass, you were a bit disappointed? It can be quite a letdown. On the other hand, it is exhilarating when all of that expectation is met or surpassed by what finally transpires.
For the last few days I have been getting more and more excited about my coming periodic, personal, silent, spiritual retreat at The Abbey of Gethsemani in Trappist, Kentucky. I go there for a week once or twice a year as a time to get away, to unplug from technology, sleep when my body says to sleep, eat healthy meals, read my Bible, pray, work on reviewing the 100 Bible verses I keep memorized, take walks in the woods, do a little writing, and capture a few insights and goals for the future.
Some think I’m quite odd for doing such a thing. When I tell them that no talking is allowed in the guest house, dining room and throughout most of the areas inside and out where you’ll find other people, and that there is no television or telephone or Internet access, and that the cell phone reception is so bad you might not have any connectivity, others say “That would drive me crazy.” But for this introvert who loves time alone, it is bliss.
When I consider other things I have anticipated in years past – especially material things – the reality of fulfilled expectations is at best temporary. The joy can diminish quickly. For example, the fun of getting that new electronic gadget, the thrill of that win by your favorite sports team, even the change in a relationship or the satisfaction of that new job – all can be short-lived.
When you find, however, a reality that meets or exceeds your expectations every time, you have found something special. One of those experiences for me is my time at Gethsemani. I look forward to next Monday-Friday with great anticipation – partly because of what is known, but also because I discover there what was previously unknown.
I hope you have such a place where your expectations are met or exceeded.
Leap year lesson #83 is Reality can exceed expectations.