Great Expectations

I remember reading a novel called Great Expectations in high school, but for some reason it didn’t leave a very lasting impression on me, so I don’t remember what it’s about at all.  I loved to read growing up and have several faves from that time period so I’m not sure why I don’t remember a thing about this one.   Maybe I’ll give it another read one of these days.  After all, my experience can be totally different this time around since I’m older and wiser (ha, I wish).   The fact that the word ‘expectation’ is in the title is highly intriguing to me.  I wonder what kind of great expectations this book is talking about.

For a long time I’ve known that expectations can make or break a lot of different scenarios.  There are expectations that I have of others that have either ruined my experiences or pleasantly surprised me.  For example, when the Pixar movie “Finding Nemo” came out, one of my friends went to watch it before I did and she told me that it is the best movie ever.  So I went into the movie theater having high expectations.  I came out disappointed.  Or that time a few years back when I heard that a band called Mute Math was playing and I went to check them out.  I didn’t know what to expect and as the night went on, the bands weren’t very good so my expectations kept going down.  Then Mute Math took the stage and put on the best live show I had ever seen up to that point.  It was electrifying.

And then there are expectations that others have of us that shape who we are.  Like that of those who have great influence over us – parents, teachers, mentors, friends.  I admit I’ve lived according to other people’s expectations for a large portion of my life, and still do to a certain extent.

But I’ve come to realize lately that nothing compares to the expectations that I place upon my own life.  And those have the most seismic impact on my journey through life.

Some time ago, a friend told me that I have idealistic goals grounded in reality.  I have a hard time with both sides of that coin.  In one sense I am an idealist and hope for the absolute best in a given situation.  Life, (un)fortunately, rarely goes the idealistic way.   My life sure hasn’t.  So, I’ve learned the art of realism and I apply it to every aspect of my mind’s idealism.  If you’ve ever heard my music and listened carefully to the lyrics, you’ll know what I mean.  If you’re confused as to how I hold the balance of this tension between idealism and realism, you’re tasting a bit of every moment of my existence.

Welcome to my world.

I live in this tension.  I have it figured out and then surrender to the unknown.  I hope for love and yet live in bitterness and divide.  I dream bigger than anyone I know and then I crush those dreams with my own feet.  I set great expectations for myself and when they are not met, I feel like going insane.  Then I accept the reality.  I believe in a God who is perfect in both compassion and justice and live in a world that this God created, a world that is both beautiful and broken.  I live knowing that one day, I will certainly die.

It’s exhausting.  So here’s me, crumpling up my great expectations into a little ball and throwing it out the window.

At least, for now.


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