When Disappointment Comes for the Holidays

I walked out to my garage, eagerly trailed by my ever curious dogs. What’s happening? Are we going to miss something important?

As I opened my car to put my belongings inside, the dogs looked at me expectantly. Apparently, to a dog, an open car door can mean only one thing. The dogs looked at me. They looked at the open door. They looked at me… You get the picture.

I was running ahead of schedule for my morning, so I decided to take the dogs for a short ride through the neighborhood. They’d be happy. I’d feel less guilty. All would be well.

Into the car we climbed. Me and two extremely excited dogs. Very aware of my schedule, we returned home after a few miles and a little over ten minutes. I pulled the car back into the garage.

Newfoundland in a car
Truly a terrible picture, but here’s the sad faced Newfie refusing to exit the vehicle

Dog #1 jumped out dutifully. Dog #2 sat there and looked at me. I called his name. Nothing. I called him repeatedly. He didn’t budge. Dog 1 and I finally went in the house, did a couple of things, and I returned for Dog 2. There he sat, looking at me with a look of disappointment on his face that only a Newfoundland can muster.

I knew exactly what he was thinking. When we get in the car and GO, we visit his brother and he has a playdate. Our garage is never the destination. The car door was supposed to open and he would race to my son and daughter-in-law’s front door for an afternoon of fun.

SMACK! Life just hits you in the face, sometimes, doesn’t it? Fortunately, as adult humans, we’re generally able to understand the whys and wherefores of life. But, understanding is a long way from accepting our lot and feeling good about the situations which we find ourselves. Understanding doesn’t always make it easier to tolerate or to wade through the muck. And it gets mucky. Sometimes, so much so that the muck threatens to pull you under.

There are all kinds of disappointments in life. It would be difficult to navigate one’s way through life without experiencing at least a few. And sometimes, what we experience and feel goes beyond disappointment and into something much deeper.

Disappointment, confusion, chaos, frustrations, grief. These are realities of life. And we’re supposed to keep a stiff upper lip and carry on. No matter what.

During this holiday season, as we are surrounded by the tinsel and garlands, trees and lights, while everyone around us makes merry, we know that life is not perfect. It wasn’t perfect before the holidays arrived and it won’t be so afterward. And, as we plan and prepare, gather and celebrate, we know that even these festivities will not be perfect. That beloved someone won’t be able to make it home. The store will run out of that one specific gift you must have. Someone will give you that one specific gift you do not want. You’ll receive one of those phone calls that knocks the wind out of your sails and breaks your heart, all in a matter of seconds.

In matters both large and small, things will go amiss. They always do. Sometimes, our senses of humor will carry us through. Sometimes, logic will override all else and we will venture forth with gallantry and Plan B. And sometimes, just sometimes, we will crumple. We’ll just need to step back, recognize that grief is real, some moments require tears, and Plan B can wait for a bit.

When disappointment walks through the door, it is never welcome. And yet, its arrival is inevitable. What we do when it arrives is up to us.

Tomorrow, I think I’ll take the dogs on a playdate.

By Tamalyn

Still seeking a world of peace & justice, this minister, mate, and mom - an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), finds great happiness and God's presence in many places: from sandy beaches to the top of a Teton, soup kitchens to used bookstores. Tamalyn embraces the philosophy that "Life is Good," but we have much work to do.

4 replies on “When Disappointment Comes for the Holidays”

I’m sorry that’s a lesson you’re needing to learn this year. But, you’re welcome. May the new year bring you blessings of peace and laughter.

As for the Newf, he’s our third and we love the breed. They’re SPECTACULAR. Albeit stubborn!

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