Monday Morning Moment – A Day at the State Fair – A Lesson on Disappointment and 5 Steps to Recovering Joy

[State Fair, 2013 pic]

This week is our state fair. Once a year for 10 glorious days, we have all kinds of opportunities to relish all kinds of good – Fair food, concerts, carnival rides, animal and produce exhibitions, and home cooking and crafting. Did I mention fair food?

We pack in as much as we can in just one day. It’s not a cheap experience, but the sheer yummyness of fried everything is worth the splurge. It’s once a year…the nostalgia alone brings us back again and again.

Then…there was this year’s fair day. Today. Put one very tired adult (not mentioning names) together with little ones with very short attention spans, and grumpiness prevailed. At least with the adults…not so much the littles. Nothing at the fair today was quite what we remembered it to be (except for the funnel cakes…they were as tasty as always).

We did all our usual stuff…things that gave joy in all the years past… but disappointment crept in…starting with our tired person, but not stopping there. The little ones fortunately seemed still to have a great fair day, but the adults were thinking this could be our last one altogether. It was that dreadful for a bit.

Photo Credit: Billy Graham, All Christian Quotes

Then on the drive back home and with the rest of the day full of other people and responsibilities, five revelations unfolded about the disappointment…and any disappointment really.

  1. Expectations are exposed by our disappointments. There it is: expectations. When our expectations are dashed is actually the moment we discover we had them. I try not to let expectations color an experience or encounter, but if we aren’t aware they are always at work, then we are thrown off balance when they are not met…or disappointed. Suffice it to say, my expectations for the day weren’t met…which could have made it difficult for everyone else.
  2. Humility gentles disappointment. When we shake down our expectations, then we have the beautiful possibility of humbly dealing with the possibility that another person’s expectations were thwarted as well. This tired one I refer to had hopes (expectations) of the day as well. He hadn’t planned on the ill effect of a very late night working and a barking dog early awakening him this morning. He was looking forward to the day as much as the rest of us. The rest of us weren’t very empathetic toward his own share of disappointments. Sigh… As we look at our situation with humility, a kinder and healthier other-mindedness comes into play.
  3. Gratefulness deflates disappointment. We still got to try milking a cow. We still watched pig races. We still got to ooh and aah over hand-made quilts, knitted dolls, and other crafts we might try ourselves now (or ask the other grandmother to try, definitely). We still got to watch the ducklings go down the slide and pet the rabbits. We still got to be together, more happily than not. It was a good day…really.
  4. Perspective is a happy outcome of humility and gratefulness. So…we may reconfigure our fair day next time. Some things may need to change…but not the people. I love these people. In light of other much harder things that happened when we returned home (hospice called in for a loved one, in particular)…the frustration of an imperfect outing was brought into real-life perspective. Imperfect was still full of messy, lovely life.
  5. Joy is recovered…restored when we put disappointment in its place. Definitely want to still do life with these people always and for as long as God allows. No walking away from this family. We are a mess sometimes, but the love hangs on…always.

Sandy Peckinpah‘s piece Breaking Expectations…When Life Hands You Disappointment – don’t stop before reading this. Really good!

Don’t Let Overwhelm Steal Your Joy – Sandy Peckinpah

4 thoughts on “Monday Morning Moment – A Day at the State Fair – A Lesson on Disappointment and 5 Steps to Recovering Joy”

  1. Really enjoyed experiencing a little with you πŸ™‚ We’re more limited now with my husband’s Parkinson’s. But, as is always the case, what the devil desires as evil, the Lord uses for good. Praise to Him! Isn’t He wonderful?! Keith and I love each other more and enjoy each other more than we ever have. And we’re taking care of each other as I learned it’s not wise to power walk in crocs–and ended up with a plate in my elbow. I tell people I will now be twice as intelligent since I’m using both sides of my brain–break in right elbow. :0)

    1. Marge, thanks for writing. I saw the same thing in my in-laws when John got Parkinson’s. The love Julia had for him, and him her, seemed to grow even deeper in the twilight of that disease. So sorry to hear about your break in your elbow. Hope you are well on the mend. Always good to hear from you.

  2. We went to the state fair today (Monday)! So it hasn’t rained here (in Chester) for months… Not a good soaking all day kind of rain….. Today it rained….. At the fair…. All. Day. Long. LOL! We were soaked! We were all tired when we left and hungry and exhausted but we were also all so happy deep inside. My kiddos kept saying every ride they loved. Ella drew the most perfect ferris wheel on a napkin. I reminisced about the fact that I almost brought home 6 baby ducks, a bunny and a guinea pig but then remembered I have a young 2nd grader, a toddler and a 4 month old and my hubby would probably send me back to the fair this very same night LOL! And every single stop light was red. Every single one…. Which is only problematic when your baby is terrified of the dark like mine…. But I say all of this bc I am so incredibly thankful… One day far too soon it may be too difficult for my parents to walk an entire day and carry babies and be out in the heat… One day my home and car will be deafeningly silent…. One day my kiddos may not even be in the same city/town/state and the days between holiday visits will be beyond what my heart and my brain can currently handle thinking about. While today had hard parts and frustrations it also had joy, cool weather, laughter, memories, love and so much more. My heat is overwhelmed, my feet are sore and tomorrow will be a pajama day. And next year I pray we can do it all over again. Expectations. Thanks for writing this blog. It was lovely. And sorry I wrote a blog post back in response… Just wanted to share. πŸ™‚ Love you so.

    PS. They have homeschool pricing and even if you don’t go that homeschool day you can use them any week day from the time of the homeschool day until the end of the fair. They are less than the senior discount price!! Check it out next year! πŸ˜‰

    1. Thanks, Alicia! Will do on the homeschool pricing. You can also write a blog any time you want on here. It’s always soul-refreshing to hear your take on life. Much love!

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