Everyone who has ever had expectations knows disappointment. Friends break their word, marriages end in divorce, our children move away and take our grandchildren with them, doctors can’t cure our ailments, people use us for their own ends, our investments go bust; but often our biggest disappointment is ourselves and what we have or have not done. We live in a world full of disappointment, and if we do not grapple with this reality, we are doomed to be unhappier tomorrow than we are today.
We have all heard the story of Alexander the Great who wept because there were no more worlds to conquer. The self-written epitaph on the gravestone of accomplished author Robert Louis Stevenson reads, “Here lies one who meant well, tried a little, and failed much.” Joe Torre, manager of the New York Yankees and broadcaster for the California Angels, mentioned that a young boy asked him before a game, “Hey, mister. Didn’t you used to be somebody?” Perhaps you’ve heard Abraham Lincoln’s reply when he was asked how it felt to lose the senate race to Stephen Douglas in 1858. His reply was cryptic: “I feel like the boy who stubbed his toe: I’m too big to cry, but it hurts too much to walk on.”