Last night my wife and I watched a movie classic, “A Street Car Named Desire.” I knew about it and of Tennessee Williams, who wrote a play with the same name. As we settled in to enjoy this Hollywood classic, I eventually realized that the reality did not meet my expectations. What was considered a great movie in 1951, did not match what I have come to expect from movies today. It seemed overdramatized in many places and the emotionally charged music in the background, only seemed to make it more over-the-top. The dull, black and white picture slowly drained my attention span, sending my thoughts into a fuzzy zone, causing me to drift in and out of consciousness. I had built up a certain expectation in my mind and that is not what I got.
In life, we are constantly faced with situations and circumstances that do not meet our expectations. We can lock ourselves in a prison of disappointment, if we hope a change in circumstances will bring a change in attitude. Circumstances constantly change, sometimes for the better or sometimes for the worse and unless we learn to adjust, we can find ourselves in a spiral of discouragement. Let me ask you a simple question — what is the one thing separating you from happiness? How you answer, can help you pinpoint which areas you need to make adaptable.
So, how would you fill in the blank: “I will be happy when — I’m promoted; I’m married; I’m single; I’m rich; or I’m healthy?” How you fill in the blank can identify the places you might need to calmly embrace so you can flourish, in spite of the circumstances. If your dreams never come true, if things don’t change, if your ship never comes in, can you find happiness? If not, you may find yourself living a life of discontentment. How we fill in the blanks is very important, but they are not always things we can control. When my expectations are not met, can I still find nuggets of joy?
I heard a speaker say in a statement modeled after the Beatitudes in the Gospel of Matthew (statements of Jesus that all began with, “Blessed are the…”) in which he said, “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be broken.” Perhaps it’s not the most profound of statements, but it’s one that gives some good basic guidance for approaching the aspects of life, over which we have no real control.
As I play back my initial comments about “A Street Car named Desire” and the benefits of being able to adjust, adapt and flourish, maybe I should rethink my expectations and give it another shot.
Have a blessed day!