Sandcastles

21:28


His body language was tense and he looked at me through narrowed, angry eyes. “You expect too much from life; and if you don’t change you are going to end up disappointed and bitter, I guarantee it! You have something good right in front of you and you despise it because it isn’t wrapped to your specifications and delivered to your satisfaction. What you want doesn’t exist!”

His words were filled with incredulous anger and frustration. Perhaps it had been a speech he had said too many times and he was frustrated at the frequency with which he had to speak it. I felt bad for him because there was an edge in his voice, as though he had never been anyone’s choice—as though he had presented himself countless times and, with each offering, he was despised and dismissed. I am speculating of course, but the edge was undeniable. No doubt he was weary and was going to give up.

But as I walked away, his words echoed in my ears. I wanted to dismiss them, but he made me wonder about this titanium wall that stood guard, and these sentries that remained vigilant and unmoved. Did I expect too much? At what point is an expectation unreasonable? At what point is what you expect too great for the Powers-That-Be to perform? Was I over-spiritualizing the process and dismissing potential partners? Yet, I can’t ignore that for the sake of potential we sometimes kill common sense.

I am reminded of when I walked along the beach of the Mediterranean Sea, and some ways away from the water was a hill covered in seashells. The shells were the same in color but each had distinct markings. They felt equally smooth. Some were small, others medium and large; they varied in size and shape. There were thousands of them. But I sought a perfect one, one that, just by looking at it, I would declare it perfect. But I didn’t find it because we had to leave, and I had to settle for the ones I picked. I was happy with the ones I picked, but if I had made it to the beach a little earlier, had more time; certainly I would have found what I was looking for. 

 Truthfully, I arrived on that beach seeking peculiar shells, something unusual, rare, unfamiliar, and strange. Instead, the beach was full of clamshells.  But I now realize something: the tide is always pushing out new seashells out of the sea. There’ll never be a shortage of strange, unusual, and rare. There aren’t perfect seashells, just as there aren’t any perfect human beings.

But high expectations are necessary. One must not willfully participate in building sandcastles that easily get washed away. Nor be coerced into settling for mediocrity--in oneself or others.

Am I setting myself up for disappointment and bitterness? I don’t believe so. There isn’t room for reindeer games on the road to Kingdom purpose. And should I not get what I am looking for, I will be convinced that it doesn’t exist here.
And I can live with that.




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