What I Learned About Disappointment During COVID
We were supposed to go to Ireland. That was the plan, after all. For years, I’ve been saying that after I finish my PhD program I would take a trip to Ireland with my husband. A sort of celebratory excursion after all the hard work. I’m finishing the program next month, so we planned the trip.
Some hotels and bed and breakfasts said they only allowed guests for essential travel. I thought it was strange, but I also found some places that didn’t say that. In any event, my husband found out — with a quick search online — that Ireland requires a 14-day quarantine once visitors arrive on the Island.
My heart broke. I was so disappointed. This was a trip I’d promised myself for a very long time — and the dream was gone so fast, all because of a virus. I don’t have 14 days to quarantine, but even if I did, I wouldn’t want to spend it all in one hotel with no outside activities.
No Backup Plan
And to be honest, I didn’t have a backup plan. Everything else we looked at just didn’t hold the same fascination for me. My husband suggested Iceland (their travel requirements are less restrictive). Iceland? It gets pretty mild in the summer — a nice balmy 55 degrees or so. Plus it didn’t hold the same beauty as Ireland — to me.
I suggested the Bahamas, but again, it wasn’t what we really wanted. I think we both were so keen on going to the Emerald Isle that anything else just fell short.
The Antidote to Disappointment
Disappointment is part of life. Not that we are continually disappointed, but circumstances arise that leave us feeling disappointed, frustrated and sad. Many people are struggling with the uncertainty that came with COVID-19. We wonder if life will ever be “normal” again. If we’ll ever travel again. Or go to the store without a mask.
Seeing my dream slip away made me think about the antidote to disappointment: gratitude. I know I’ve been blessed in many ways. I have a husband who has been changed by his relationship with Christ. I have four beautiful children. God provides food for our table — and meets our other needs, sometimes before we ask.
Colossians 3:15-17 tells us to be thankful and express gratitude:
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
I am thankful. But I also need to be content. I love how Paul puts it in Phil. 4:11-12:
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
In Hebrews 13:5, the author also instructs us to be content: “[B]e content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'”
Someday I will go to Ireland, Lord willing. While I can’t go now, I’m thankful for what God has given to me at this moment. And we will be content to stay in the United States, a land that God has blessed with so much beauty.