When disappointment hits, it can feel like a punch in the stomach! You know what I’m talking about — disbelief, helplessness, frustration, anger and a resounding, “Are you kidding me?!” That happened in the life of my family recently. Without going into details, it was a crushing disappointment. Just when we thought things were all settled, they weren’t. It was anguishing.
As a minister, a mature woman (and a mother, for heaven’s sake), I am supposed to know what to say or do to fix it — whatever “it” might be on any given day. But, some things can’t be fixed. Loved ones leave, employment changes, house sales fall through, siblings are driven into exile from one another, disabilities occur, someone betrays someone. These sad times are a part of this human experience we call life, and they can be extremely painful.
When I work with folks who are enduring a profound disappointment, I try to be open to hearing whatever needs to come out. I encourage them to feel as sad, mad and bitter as they need to feel for a little while. When someone is hurting, the last thing s/he needs to hear is to just “get over it.” It feels so much better to be heard and understood than to be judged or chastised. (This is true with children as well as adults, by the way. Sometimes our adult perspective minimizes the pain our little ones are feeling when a toy breaks or a special bracelet is lost.) (Read More)