Expect good things
If you’ve ever lived in Utah you know there’s nothing too strange about spring break beginning with a snow storm. When seasons change here it sometimes takes months for the weather to finally settle on consistency. Even still, as the snow fell and Spring break began, I had to pull out the kids' snow boots I’d already put away ‘til next winter.
The surprising flurry of snow weeks ago turned out to be the beginning of a season of things not going as expected. A health crash came out of nowhere, breaking my streak of good days and bringing with it new symptoms to manage. Next, a resilient stomach bug followed Shadyn home from school and after sticking around long enough for him to miss the last week of first grade moved on to Naomi. And now, due to the stomach bug, another missed family camping trip is the whopping cherry of disappointment on top.
The kids took it better than I thought they would when I broke the news that the three of us would be staying home from the trip we’d all been looking forward to. To be honest, they took it better than I did. We’d made special plans for me to come along for this one. It’s rare for me to leave home, especially for a few days of unpredictable temperatures, long nights, and very non-wheelchair friendly bathrooms, if any at all. Still I was convinced no matter how sticky it got at the campout, it was better than staying home alone—again.
What we hadn’t planned for, unfortunately, was two sick kids.
Even though I’d willingly volunteered to stay while he went, it was harder than usual to see the silver lining as we watched Matt and his truckful of gear drive away without us. I think he had a hard time driving away too. If he hadn’t been responsible for making the campout happen, plus hauling all the drinking water for the twenty other people going he probably wouldn't have left at all. (Then we could have all been miserably disappointed together!)
All things considered, perhaps it would be easier on me to not expect much of anything—living with a healthy indifference to the trajectory of today, this week, and life as a whole. Dream small. Brace myself for the worst. And keep a generous cushion of detachment for when it all unfolds however it will.
The theory seems sound: keep the expectations low and you just might avoid heartbreak and disappointment—the ultimate safety net.
But even as I sit here amid aching tummies, a Costco supply of Gatorade, and some exceptionally nasty diapers, I have to admit that in my experience it’s expecting more out of life that always saves me in the end.
Life is too vast, too challenging, too abundant to follow our small, uninformed plans. Life will exceed our expectations just as it will undoubtedly fall short of them. But somehow what we expect is what we see, whether it comes how we envisioned or not. Foresee the worst and you'll probably find it. Hope for the best and you'll soon discover it in every unexpected twist and turn this life can throw at you.
I hope I always have it in me to expect a lot out of this crazy, unpredictable life. I hope you do too.
When everything dangerously teeters toward collapse—expect more, expect better. Anticipate hidden blessings in every unravelled plan. Believe the happiest moments follow the storms. Trust massive growth to come alongside each mistake and every regret. Look ahead to fun adventures while you ride out the inevitable stomach bugs and missed camping trips.
Simply put, expect good things. Then count on them showing up in the most unexpected of ways.
After I cried over the missed camping trip (like a child mourning the ice cream cone she wanted but couldn’t have… so mature of me) I promised myself I would expect good things for this weekend—minus the tents, my husband, and Dutch oven dinners.
I have to believe that those good things, whatever they are, must surely be on their way right now. Maybe just after the juicy diaper that awaits.
As for the snow storms in spring, the deep purple petals and fresh green leaves of my spring flowers against a blanket of snow seemed out of place but beautiful. The tulips didn't seem to mind the freezing crystals surrounding them either. And by the end of spring break, believe it or not, the sun was shining again, the ground was dry, and my flowers looked as vibrant and healthy as ever.
I should have expected as much.