Balancing Hope And Disappointment

Jun 1, 2018

“Sometimes you have a little trouble taking ‘no’ for an answer, don’t you?” That’s what Larry, my beloved, has said to me in the past when I have been, well, having trouble taking “no” for an answer.

Recent political outcomes have been big disappointments in my life. (Maybe they weren’t disappointments to you, but they certainly were to me.) That being the case, I have been attempting to deal with the disappointment by pretending that it doesn’t exist. As my friend, Patsy, says, “If you don’t see it, maybe it’s not there.” It’s a classic case of denial because I don’t want to have to face the fact that I’m going to have to live with what I deem to be second-best—or worse. When the optimum thing/person is there for the asking, why would I want to settle for a lesser outcome—to take “no” for an answer?

Through my adult life, I mostly have been working for and voting for candidates who lose, and frankly it’s discouraging. Not that every political candidate whom I have supported has lost: sometimes, to my great joy, and in my opinion, to the good of the populace at large, my candidate has triupmphed. What I am saying is that it is disappointing that sometimes those who lose—who definitely are not, in the words of our current “dear leader” “losers,”—don’t  get the opportunity to work what I am sure would have been their magic for the good of the whole.

This track-record has led to me formulate the rather negative theory that Americans do not want people in public office that they deem to be too smart. You hear people say things like, “I want someone just like me.” Incorrect grammar aside, in most cases, this idea spells doom. What should be wanted is someone a great deal smarter than most of us—the ship of state is too unwieldy to be steered by “someone just like me.”

However, we invariably select someone who seems to us to be the average, “just like me” person. Then we end with a situation, a place in my life, when I wish that I were able to revert to toddler-dom and just throw a big old tantrum. It must be very freeing to be allowed a fit-throwing episode. Instead though, because I’m supposed to be an adult, I am forced to do the adult-thing and just button it up, bury my fury and carry on as though things are just dandy. Well, they’re not and I want to stomp my feet and rail at the fates!

Wisdom from the fates, mostly world-religions, suggests that I am right where I should be though since it’s all about suffering, character-building and learning from adversity. Seems to me that this sort of stuff is counter to what any sane person might want. What we want is what we want, and in most cases, suffering isn’t that thing.

But, just when there you are, lower than a snake’s belly, you notice a tiny little two-leaved shoot poking up through the dirt. Hope has germinated and forced its way through the dirt; the hope, which they say, springeth eternal. The hope that propels us from bed to sally forth out into the world each day: the hope that helps us to face disappointment if not with gusto, at least with grace and goodwill rather than fit-throwing: the hope that has kept me, through the years, searching for political satisfaction as well as for the perfect purse. Large tasks, these things.

So, if I don’t exactly spring upright from my crawling-on-my-belly-like-a-snake dejection, I do manage to struggle to an upright position and go out to navigate in this second-best world, reluctantly taking “no” for an answer.


Music: "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by The Rolling Stones