Let me be painfully honest for a moment. I became very comfortable with extremely fortunate travel opportunities because of my family vacations. We’ve spent our last few summer trips in Europe, and it was my stubborn intention to keep this new tradition going for as long as I could. So last spring when it was time to plan, I was heartbroken to learn I wasn’t leaving the country for magical week across the pond. Instead, I’d be traveling to Wyoming right here in good ol’ US of A.
I know. Just typing this I am embarrassed of how privileged and unappreciative (not to mention slightly unpatriotic) I sound. But what I wanted was Prague. I wanted to stroll across the Charles bridge. I wanted to browse through the pop up markets in Old Town Square and sip libations at a classic Czech tavern. I wanted the European fairytale, (complete with the Prague castle). I had made plans with Prague. I had dreamt and daydreamed about my future with Prague. What I freaking wanted was PRAGUE.
Yes, this particular example is a very first world one that deserves no sympathy- but I can assure you I’ve suffered much greater trials. Just appease my metaphor choice for a moment. My point is simply that disappointment sucks. Period. Whether it’s as petty as not getting your way for a vacation or as tragic as losing someone you love, we are wired as humans to hope for things to work in our favor- and sometimes they just don’t.
So yeah, I didn’t get Prague- but I did get a lot more than I expected to.
I got to sit in anticipation with my dad while we waited for Old Faithful to erupt. I got to see some of nature’s most fascinating animals like grizzly bears and bison in the wild. I got to raft down the Snake River at dawn and see bald eagles soar above me.
If Prague had gone according to plan, I would have missed hiking to the top of Inspiration Point and overlooking the Tetons. I would have missed driving through Yellowstone and watching the sunrise with my family. I wouldn’t have seen Grand Prismatic Spring, or the campsite near Jenny Lake where my grandparents took their kids camping in the 60s. I wouldn’t have sipped wine on the roof with my dad while we watched the sunset over the Tetons- while I told him about how I wanted to start this blog. I may have missed the chance to sit in nature with my brother and listen to him talk about the girl he wanted to marry. I wouldn’t have seen some of God’s best work- His most beautiful views.
I would have missed an opportunity for God to prove to me that he always knows what I need more than what I think I want- that when life doesn’t go according to my plan, it’s because he always has something better in mind.
No matter who you are, I’ll bet there is something in life that you’re currently disappointed about. Big or small- it’s there. Sometimes it’s as light as where you go for vacation. Other times it’s a catastrophic pain that hurts all the way to your bones. But whatever kind of disappointment it is, I hope you don’t lose heart. I hope you can look at the road ahead and trust that God isn’t finished with you yet.
In the midst of the disappointments that I face today, I smile at the thought of Jackson Hole- of me surprisingly, having the time of my life when I never expected to- and God smiling back at me after I didn’t get my way and simply saying “I told you so.”