“Anytime you suffer a setback or disappointment, put your head down and plow ahead.” – Les Brown
This past Monday was a day of disappointing news.
I won’t say it was a day of bad news. But on a day that the sky was dark and cloudy, when the wind was cold and biting; when the strain of winter’s dreariness begins to take a toll on one’s soul, it was a day ripe with hopes of good news to brighten the gloom felt both inside and out.
That just didn’t happen.
In the early afternoon, I received a text from my youngest daughter. She didn’t make the cut for an advanced choir for which she auditioned. She studied. She practiced. She prayed. We prayed. Her name didn’t make the list, and she was crushed. I was crushed for her as well.
“Can you come get me?”
Normally I would say “no,” but I knew she needed the comfort of her mom’s embrace and a private moment to console herself. So I called and excused her from class and went to retrieve her from the school. My temptation to stop and buy for her the biggest chocolate bar I could find gave way to the mom in me trying to reinforce good habits, and I didn’t want to send the wrong message of burying disappointments in food. A good cry, a big hug and some carefully, prayerfully considered words of comfort would be given, along with the space needed to examine the disappointment and to make a plan to move ahead.
She had the biggest, saddest look in her soft, beautiful brown eyes. A look of maturity with the hurt of a toddler. It killed me to look at her. I, too, began to cry.
“You have a beautiful voice, and it is truly a gift from God,” I told her. “Don’t let this disappointment get you down. He has great plans for you, and as hard as this is, trust that He will bring you through this and place you where He needs you to be.”
We chatted a bit more, cried a bit more, and then I left her alone, though I didn’t want to leave her side. A few moments to lick her wounds and cry into her pillow would be good therapy, and I continued on with the tasks of my day, tackling the to-do list as I checked on her throughout the rest of the afternoon.
Not too long afterwards, the dogs began barking at someone who was knocking at the door. On the other side were two of my daughter’s friends, bearing bags of snacks: her favorite chips, her favorite candy and a pizza-making kit. They brought all of her favorites, plus the love and compassion of friends who knew she needed them. My eyes began to well up at the love these young ladies showed their heart-broken friend.
I heard sniffles and giggles as they prepared the pizza, and squeals of laughter as the therapy worked – much better than a chocolate bar from mom. For a few hours, my daughter’s friends kept their pal company, had her laughing, and cast a ray of sunshine on a gloomy day.
During the time the girls were visiting, I received my own share of very disappointing news; where I was praying for outcomes that were completely different and unexpected from the ones I received. It was now my turn to cry, and to reach out to one of my friends for solace and comfort. It was also my turn take the words of wisdom I gave to my daughter, and apply them to my own circumstances. That, truly, was not easy, as I asked God “Why? Can’t I catch a break?”
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV).
I believe God places friends in our lives to prop us up when we have a hard time believing that the disappointments we encounter can be used for the greater good in our lives – or for others.
We may never know why we are dealing with the disappointments that we have been given, but with faith and the love and support of our friends, we will survive – and grow stronger from the setbacks we encounter along our paths.
How have you helped your child/children through a major disappointment? Share in the comment section below.
© 2013 – Lynne Cobb