We were talking about expectations a few days ago in a group setting (as a result of reading Luke 7 where Jesus asks: what were you expecting?). I have come to the conclusion that in most cases, expectations are not a good thing. I voiced this opinion, but I could see that others did not agree, so I tried to explain the difference that I see between expectations and hope.
Picture a scenario: Dean is coming home after a business trip (as he actually was on the night of this discussion).
Hope, to me, is a buoyancy that comes from knowing I will soon see Dean. I am looking forward to meeting him, to having him back at home, but I have not written a scenario in my head about how it will happen.
Expectation would have me imagine the two of us seeing each other from across the airport, running into each other's arms, and murmuring loving phrases that set my heart aflutter and bring gasps of ooohhh and aaaahhh when I retell the story of our reunion.
Hope just knows that at some point, Dean will come, and that is more than enough. His plane may be late or early, he might have a hold-up at customs, he might even miss a connection or arrive sans luggage. He may be energetic and upbeat, or tired, sweaty, and hungry. I don't know the details and I don't spend any time trying to guess what they will be. I focus my attention on Dean, the one I love, not on what he will say or do when I see him.
Expectation gets hung up on the details. It wants a flashy entrance, a gift, a romantic "I love you," a gesture of affection, maybe a light shining above us and a choir singing in the background, something that will make the occasion memorable and special and ideal. Expectation is easily disappointed when its demands are not met.
Hope just beams! It buoys up my spirit and shines with the glow of anticipation because Dean is coming. How and exactly when this will happen is out of my control, but I know that Dean's will is set in my direction, and I am waiting for him. More than waiting for him, I am going to meet him. And when he arrives, I will happily receive him and everything that comes with him, because it is him!
Here's how it actually happened: Dean's plane was late, but his luggage did arrive with him. Excellent! I was waiting in the car in the arrival pick-up lane when I saw him walking towards me. Yes, my heart jumped when I caught my first glimpse of him, even though he had only been gone for 3 days! His first words were, "What is this?" referring to the snow that had appeared since his departure. It made me laugh! He also brought me two wonderful and unexpected gifts, one of which was an Elvis/Nixon t-shirt that I wore to an 80s Christmas party 4 days later. The other was a case of Diet Dr. Thunder, one of my all-time favourite drinks! On the way home, we went to a McDonald's drive-thru to get him something to eat because it was after midnight and he had not had supper. I gave him money to buy a burger wrap!
These details may not sound very exciting to you, but I remember them all because they were important to me. Why? Because I did them with Dean!
This is a photo of some of Dean's work shirts that are waiting, hoping to be ironed.
 For my blog on expectations based on Luke 7, click here.