Expectations and Reality

Then, it may be, one finds a different fruit and not the fruit one thought of.  One joy was expected and another is given.  But this I had never noticed before that at the very moment of the finding there is in the mind a kind of thrusting back, or a setting aside.  The picture of the fruit you have not found is still, for a moment, before you.  And if you wished -- if it were possible to wish -- you could keep it there.  You could send your soul after the good you had expected, instead of turning it to the good you had got.  You could refuse the real good; you could make the real fruit taste insipid by thinking of the other. ](Perelandra, C. S. Lewis)

One joy was expected and another is given.

Really, the whole book was a perfectly-timed read last week, dealing as it does with themes of joy and obedience.  But that line in particular resonated with my heart and life.

It is so true.  My inclination is to want to hang onto the joy that I expect (and believe me, I always expect.  I always have plans and visions and think that I know how the end of the story will play out) and to rebuff the joy that I get as unwanted.  Lesser.  Not a joy.

So this helps me to reframe my experience of reality, to say, "This thing that is given -- although it isn't what I was expecting -- is a joy.  And real."

I thought about it on Sunday afternoon, during our Easter feast, when my dear nearly-five-years-old friend Jacob looked at me and said, with great happy sincerity, “Today is so much fun I want it to be today again so we can have the party again together.  You know what I’ll say to God tonight when I pray?  Dear God.  Please make it be yesterday again.  Amen.” We don't get the same joy again, I wanted to say to him.  We got to have our cake and eat it too... but only once.

I've been thinking about it while I write a recommendation for a friend that may take her away to an internship this summer... all summer... rather than spending the last few weeks of my BC (Before China ;-) ) in Bloomington together.  I expected that joy.  But her getting the internship, doing something that she loves and that God is equipping her for -- that is another kind of joy.

I've been thinking about it while I find out that a friend who I thought I wouldn't see again is actually going to be around for the summer.  I didn't expect that joy.

One joy was expected and another is given.


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