Counting our Blessings After a Disappointing Morning

After last weekend, I thought I’d learned my lesson of not trying to be productive, but watchful and appreciative of those quality moments.

God’s not finished with me yet.

Reflection on a series of events from Saturday morning reveals another interesting lesson. How do you deal with disappointment?

Saturday morning brimmed with exciting hope and opportunity.
  • My daughter left before dawn to compete in her FFA LDE Radio Broadcasting Area competition, where the top two teams advance to State. 
  • The impending stormy weather wasn’t supposed to strike our area until noon, so off I went for two hours (alone) to take advantage of a morning sale. 
  • My OSU Cowboy husband would be driving to Waco to represent his half of a house divided with his Sic ‘Em Bears brother at the big OSU-Baylor football game.

Instead it turned into one of those mornings that we tell our children “builds character.” You can probably guess.

My daughter sends us a text, “It was bad. Our mic levels were all messed up and [something else was going on] so we didn’t have time to fix them. I’m not sure we’ll even place.” As parents your response must be empathetic: Oh sweetie, that’s such a bummer. How disappointing. I know your team worked so hard for this. There’ll be next year honey.

The store I’m headed to doesn’t open at 9 a.m. but 10 a.m.  No big deal – I’ll pop into another nearby store on this side of town and browse for some ideas. As I turn into the parking lot something shifts inside the car engine and red lights blink across my console. Alarmed, I pull into a parking space on the far outside of the lot and turn off the car. Don’t panic…  Turn on the engine again, one of the lights has disappeared, but it wasn’t the engine light.  No!!!!!!  Can I drive it to the shop?  I ease it into drive, give it a little gas, and roll into the next parking lane. Nope, something feels off, like I’m driving with the parking brake on, and I know I’ll just do more damage if I try to take it on the road.

For the past two days all the weatherman talked about is this impending clash of fronts/weather system that will bring hurricane style storms, with tornadoes, lightning, straight-line winds on top of us all Saturday afternoon.  And I’m sitting with a not-working car in a parking lot.  #facepalm

My husband forgoes his trip, coming out to meet me instead, and waits with me for the tow truck driver. He reminds me that I was supposed to take the car in and have two recall notices repaired, not to mention get the oil changed. (I’ve been too busy! Well, are you too busy now? Ouch, point taken.)
This leads me back to my original question, How do you deal with bad moments? A Saturday morning that brimmed with exciting hope and opportunity, quickly turned into a day of misfortune.  

As I sat stewing in my husband’s truck, I recalled the words of C. S. Lewis in The Screwtape Letters (#21).

Men are not angered by mere misfortune but by misfortune conceived as injury. And the sense of injury depends on the feeling that a legitimate claim has been denied. … Now you will have noticed that nothing throws him into a passion so easily as to find a tract of time which he reckoned on having at his own disposal unexpectedly taken from him.

We tell our children that moments like this build character, those mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.  What we really mean is you get to choose your reaction to these minor inconveniences and build good habits for yourself.   It’s easy to be a person of good character when life is going well, but your true character is revealed when life falls apart, when things don’t go as planned. Do you let these problems sour your mood and ruin your whole day? No one is hurt by messing up in competition. No one is suffering as a result having car trouble. Yes, life is full of disappointments and “but that wasn’t how I planned to spend my day!”
This week we look ahead to Thanksgiving Thursday, so let’s turn this morning around and consider our blessings.
  • Even though it’s her first year to compete in this LDE, my daughter’s team made it to Area.
  • We were able to get a tow truck called out before the bad weather struck.
  • My husband loves me so much he sacrificed his trip to put me first and make sure I was okay.

Seriously, I don’t have a thing in the world to complain about. God is good. All the time.  And All the Time, God is Good.

Sunday morning postscript:

My daughter called us late Saturday afternoon. The judges didn’t deduct points for the microphone issue and her team won First Place! They’re advancing to the State competition on December 5-6.  I screamed so loud you probably heard me. She’s strutting around today reminding me that she gets a letter jacket now.


Shelly Henley Kelly