God give us rain when we expect sun.
Give us music when we expect trouble.
Give us tears when we expect breakfast.
Give us dreams when we expect a storm.
Give us a stray dog when we expect congratulations.
God play with us, turn us sideways and around.
Expectation Defined: Merriam Webster says an expectation is a belief that something will happen or is likely to happen; a feeling or belief about how successful, good, etc., someone or something will be Synonyms: anticipation, assumption, hope, probability, belief.
Expectation Redefined! We all know the common mantra: “You get what you expect.” That’s part of what it means to be a people of expectation from an UU perspective. We UUs believe that human beings have tremendous power to shape and create their own experience. So if you expect people to be good, you will discover and notice goodness. If you believe life is on your side, you’ll see opportunities unfold over and over again. We like this way of relating to expectation because it reminds us we have control. It’s about noticing we have options. It’s about taking hold of the situation and putting our stamp on it.
And yet, sometimes holding too tightly to our desired expectations leaves us blind. Sometimes getting what we expect leads to expecting to always get what we want, and then we are left gasping when we don’t! Being a people of expectation is also about realizing that our human control is limited. It means asking ourselves, “Are you willing to let go of expectation and be led by the Unknown?” Are we willing to dance in the rain when we expected sun? Can we welcome the stray dogs that amble onto the stage when we’re waiting for applause? Letting go of expectations is good for the soul!
Another way to look at it is through the lens of trust. Do you trust that this wildly unpredictable life of ours won’t lead you astray? When your expectations get turned on their head, do you see that as a threat or do you have the faith to live into it?
Some Spiritual Practice Questions on Expectations
Take a look at the questions below, and pick the one that hooks you most and let it lead you where you need to go. The goal of these questions is not to help you analyze what expectation means, but to figure out what being a person of expectation means for you today. Which question is calling to you?
Spiritual Exercise: Perhaps Poems
Perhaps Poems challenge us to turn our deepest assumptions and expectations about even the most basic and beloved things on their head. Take a look at the poems at the link! Consider writing your own perhaps poem, inspired by the ones on the website. Just start with the word perhaps and go from there: http://beyond-the-pale.uk/perhaps. Share your poem with a friend!
A Ritual of Expectation
Solstice fire rituals. Christmas advent wreaths and calendars. Hanukkah candles. This is the season of ritual -- rituals of preparation and expectation to be exact. Expecting and trusting the light to return is no easy task. It’s one thing to intellectually believe that the dark always gives way to the light; it’s quite another to feel it in your bones.
All religions say this task is much easier with ritual, and with rituals done together. So this month, recruit your family or circle of friends and engage one of the winter rituals of expectation. Here are a few links to help you decide which might be right for you:
Hanukkah -- eight days of practices: http://www.uucw.org/component/content/article/674-hanukkah-practices
Advent -- creating your own ritual: http://adventforatheists.weebly.com/
Solstice -- come celebrate at UUCW on Friday, December 18th at 7 p.m.! See this link for more ideas to use at home: http://tinyurl.com/pdty2tm
UU Family Christmas rituals from UU World Magazine -- http://www.uuworld.org/articles/creating-uu-family-christmas-rituals
More Wise Words On Expectation
“A Walk” by Rainer Maria Rilke
My eyes already touch the sunny hill, going far ahead of the road I have begun. So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp;
It has its inner light even from a distance
And changes us, even if we do not reach it,
into something else, which hardly sensing it, we already are;
A gesture waves us on, answering our own wave…
but what we feel is the wind in our faces.
“Kneeling in Bethlehem” by Ann Weems
And the baby!
Whoever expected a baby?
Whoever expected the advent of God in a helpless child?
Had the Messiah arrived in the blazing light of the glory
of a legion of angels wielding golden swords, the whole world could have been conquered for Christ
right then and there and we in the church - to say nothing of the world!
… wouldn’t have so much trouble today.
Even now we simply do not expect to face the world armed with love.
(full poem: http://tinyurl.com/og2mgnz)
I believe that we live the story we tell ourselves–and others–about
the life we’re leading…If you constantly interview
your child for pain, your child may begin to hear a story of
social suffering emerge from her own mouth. Soon she will
begin to believe it and will see herself as a victim.
If your heart is a volcano, how shall you expect flowers to bloom? (Kahlil Gibran)
Related Quotes from the Library Committee
What follows are Quotations gathered by Library Committee members from UUCW Library resources.
Quotes on hope.