Leaven Blog

So disappointed

by Joe Bollig

For a lot of folks, the formula for disappointment is as simple as this:

Expectation + Failure to Meet Expectation = Disappointment.

People in some locations felt disappointment with the Great Coast to Coast Eclipse of Aug. 21, because it was overcast or raining. Literally, it rained on their eclipse parade.

What made the experience particularly disappointing for some was that they traveled from afar to be in the Zone of Totality, or took the day off, or booked a hotel room a couple of years in advance.

The disappointment made their eclipse cupcake or Moon Pie taste just a bit bitter.

Why so? Why the disappointment?

Here’s a hint: There’s a word missing from the disappointment formula (and I left it out on purpose).

The missing word is “entitlement.”

“I have a right to see that full eclipse, by golly, because that’s what I want and it’s all about meeeeeeee!”

Take away that sense of entitlement, that self-centered “me-ism,” and an experience can be great even if it doesn’t meet our starting expectations.

Here’s a personal example.

Since the eclipse happened around lunch time, I decided to skip feeding my face and take a back road up north that would take me just over the border of the Zone of Totality.

When I’d gone north long enough, I turned off at a place where a handful of other people had also come, and parked among them. The clouds got thicker and darker, and the eclipsing sun disappeared.

So as we stood there, we chatted with each other, and a man who brought his family tracked the eclipse and the weather via five different apps on his smartphone.

We had a lot of fun, even though we couldn’t see the corona. It was enough for us to experience the awe-inspiring and brief darkness of the Zone of Totality.

Sure, it would have been really awesome if we could have actually seen the sun and moon meet, but it was nevertheless awesome.

As far as I could tell, there was some wistfulness but no great disappointment among us. Our impromptu viewing group enjoyed being with each other and experiencing the wonder of the part of the event available to us.

So here is the point: Not being disappointed doesn’t mean settling for less. Not being disappointed means stepping away from the idol of your entitled expectations and appreciating the good of what you have.

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

Leave a Comment