I have lived enough years to know there are at least two kinds of anticipation. There is the kind that is exciting and full of hope – when I proposed to Ann and when I proposed to Sue that each would accept me as their partner, when I graduated college that someone would read my resume and give me a job offer, when I tried out for a play at the Children’s Theatre that I would be offered the role, when I made an important presentation at DuPont that the audience would react favorably to my proposal, or, on a more frivolous note, that the Eagles would play well enough this year that I would be able to root for them all the way to their win at the Super Bowl.
Even though this form of anticipation can lead to disappointment, in every case it has reinforced a feeling of real gratitude, gratitude that comes from knowing that at that moment in time I am in a position to experience something wonderful.
Then there is the kind of anticipation that causes worry and even dread – that a doctor will give me bad news about a cancer diagnosis (she didn’t), that I won’t get to see a close relative one more time while she is in hospice care, that the roof leak that is staining an inside wall of our house would lead to a significant and costly repair.
Someone once told me “Don’t buy trouble.” I interpreted that to mean don’t forecast the worst possible outcome when there are multiple possibilities of what may happen. But, that isn’t always easy to do. You see what happened to an acquaintance under similar circumstances. You learn the odds of a favorable outcome and it’s not great.
With that latter form of anticipation, I have learned to try to do what it takes to calm down, to try to stop thinking about the worst outcome, to try to shift my focus to something positive. I have learned to spend time in prayer. I have learned to share my concerns and fears as best I can with people I trust. I have learned their prayers for me make a difference, too.
Prayer has been an important part of my faith journey. The knowledge that I have been given God’s grace is also an important part of that journey. The understanding that God is with me through the good times and the not-so-good times is sustaining. Thanks be to God.