I don’t know. Do you? I’m really tempted to just keep crying and find someone else much wiser and much more mature who can tell me. What do we do when our naysayers are proved right? What do we do when we finally “get” what they meant, when we finally see the pain they foretold?
We see ourselves as dreamers. Hopers. Big-time believers. We feel called. We don’t want to waste our lives just doing what’s easy, what’s normal. Nope, we have to pick the tallest mountain to climb. And not to gain attention, but because deep inside we have a sense that fully living means forgetting the status quo and living from our hearts. We have a sense that fully living means taking the words of Jesus as literally as we can figure out how to.
But yes, there’s a piece of this kind of person that is easily fooled, too. The naysayers see with complete clarity what we cannot. The passion and zeal and ideas and hope are so strong that no matter how many times we nod our heads in the beginning, saying, “Yes, of course I know this may fail and I’m okay with that, but I just have to try”, we really don’t know that. We really don’t accept the possibility. And if we genuinely do realize the possibility of failure, we aren’t in touch with just how painful and devastating it could be. The naysayers are feeling that for us. In advance. Thanks so much!
So when they’re proved right, that can only mean one thing: it happened. The worst, or close to it, happened. We find out we don’t have what it takes. We find out the path is steeper than we imagined. Maybe we will quit…maybe we can’t, because we’re in too deep. Maybe there will be miracles…maybe there will be regret. Maybe we’ll get over it, maybe we truly never will.
What do we do? Well, like I said, I don’t really know. But here’s a start…
We grieve the dream or at least the version of the dream we had in mind, the process we expected. In grieving will come acceptance. Eventually. Acceptance of what is rather than what we hoped would be. Grief isn’t quick or easy. His disciples never need to grieve without hope, though. Hope that we’ll get what we’re aiming for? No, sadly. It may be time to die to that. We do have hope that He is good though, hope that He is with us, and hope that He hasn’t forgotten our story…no risk in this. It’s true, even if it doesn’t feel true.
*We take courage.
We get up every day and say, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13) We put one foot in front of the other, and focus on what is in our lap, given by God, for that day, for that moment. Do we pout and rage? No. We dig deep and find that bravery that seemed to force us to take the risk in the first place, and we use that courage to do the work at hand whether it is the work we planned to do or not. We are still the same people! Our fire inside must be used for something else instead.
We are willing to be honest with ourselves and others about it, no matter how many excuses we want to make or how stupid we feel. We’re willing to learn specific things from mistakes. We’re not embittered by the naysayers. We learn to see the value in their gifts, in a spirit of humility.
Maybe our head is hanging low and our heart is broken and the tears won’t stop flowing…but we recognize that’s fully living, too.