Naturally, there were tears and questions. The little one leaned against me with a small sob and said, "We've had a lot of disappointments lately, Mommy." I knew she was thinking of the Big Disappointment which was now about six weeks past but still fresh in our hearts. Then she asked how I could bear this one. The simple answer was, "I know He loves me." Deeper than that, I had an epiphany right there in that melting mountain pass--I'd claimed Hope Territory in the time of the Big Disappointment.
We'd gone more than three months with mom, the heart and soul of the family, out of commission. Quiet Christmas sans turkey dinner, limping along through the basics, postponing holidays, and continually praying for healing. Into the fourth month and there was a cancellation, they would take me in for surgery. Hope rose. Only to be crushed after hours of waiting. I'd have to be bumped to another day...a month away. We cried together, feeling quite like we'd been taken out at the knees. The long struggle had worn on us all.
I'd been sixteen hours without food, water or medication while waiting for my surgery. With all those needs finally met, I slipped into the blessed relief of sleep while my family cuddled together with a movie. A few hours later I returned to cognizance with one urgent thought, "You need to dance on this disappointment."
What a silly idea! And not because, as my curly-haired family frequently tells me, I dance like a white woman. Physically, I was no condition to dance and who dances anyway when they haven't got a clue how they're going to get through another month of this? But I know that Voice and I've learned it's worth listening to...
So I found the song that said what I needed to say and I played it. On repeat. Loud enough to saturate my senses. And I sang and sang and twirled around as best I could until hope rose. I sang and twirled some more until I was bursting with hope. When I finally flopped down breathless I still didn't know how...how anything, but I knew that I knew that I knew that God loves me and that nothing is impossible for Him. I knew that as long as I could dance on my disappointment, thereby declaring my confidence in His goodness, He would make something glorious out of this whole big mess. For me and for my family.
Navigating disappointment isn't easy. It's important to be honest and process our sadness. But we can't live there. Disappointment pulls with a tremendous gravitational force, trying to hold us down. Self pity encourages us to put down roots in that place. Disappointment is a place to go through.
We can, in fact, be "perplexed, but not in despair...cast down, but not destroyed." Whether your setback is great or small, I encourage you to dance. Dance on your disappointment.
Dance. As though your life depends on it.
What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord,
who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem
When they walk through the Valley of Weeping
it will become a place of refreshing springs.
The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.
They will continue to grow stronger,
and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.
2 Corinthians 4:8-10