Disappointment makes a lousy companion. He nibbles on your leftovers and drinks your last soda. He never asks if it’s okay to visit. He just shows up, unannounced, and lounges in your most comfortable pair of pajama pants that he donned while you weren’t looking. He even grabs the remote and changes the channel in the middle of your favorite show.
Disappointment likes to whisper into your ear. His lips too close for comfort, he knows how to give deception a sickening melody. At first, the notes please you, resonating in your soul, reminding you how unworthy you are. The strain binds you to other moments in your past when you have felt the same way. You review them, revealing an obvious pattern: failure. He stops his loathsome anthem just long enough to remind you. “You have had a lot of practice at failing,” he whispers. “Inevitability looks good on you,” he chides. You put it all back on like an old coat. It fits just like you remember it. In fact, shame might just be your best color.
He resumes his tune, but as he hits the chorus, the notes turn sour. Bitterness washes the back of your throat as your anger erupts at this intrepid house guest. You determine to fight back. You have other friends too, you tell him. Well-meaning supporters who sing you a different song. Belonging, Kindness, Sincerity, and Grace come for regular visits when invited. You show him the door. Oh, he has worn out his welcome alright, but he will not be silenced, nor will he be moved. Not just yet. He’s just getting started. He puts his hands behind his head, and while resting his feet on your ottoman, he waits for your righteous indignation to wane. Disappointment is a noble adversary. He knows how to withstand your displeasure. In that space and time, the voices of all of your other friends fall silent. Your courage vanishes. All you can hear is his excruciating voice begin his song anew. In fact, this ditty reaches its final crescendo. His tone intensifies, soaring and strong. It drowns out all reason leaving you vulnerable to his most fatal attack.
Your eyes turn heavenward. Your wily companion tilts your chin. New voices rise from despair. God must not have heard you. He never really cared. He doesn’t even listen. He must not be there. Disappointment weighs in with one crowning refrain, “It was really just you all along. Just you. Only you.” Abandonment rings the doorbell, Disappointment’s evil accomplice. They sit next to you on the couch, one on either side. No need to sing any more songs. The tapes play on their own now. They will always play. Disappointment’s most insidious gift is unadulterated deception. It pours from his lips into the porches of our ears. And worse still, his voice eventually turns into our own, the most cruel trick of all.