The Gift of Disappointment


My sister gets the credit for introducing this catchy little phrase into our family eons ago.  I frequently used it on my son when he was little.  Oh no Mom … I don’t want The Gift! Recently, I’ve been using it on myself and it isn’t fun.

Last week I had plans to sing for a special church service.  I went to the rehearsals, changed my calender around to accommodate this gig and even planned what I was going to wear, which is so not like me.

So the big day comes and I’m feeling lousy.  I have a fever.  My legs feel like concrete.  My body is trying to tell me to stop, slow down and rest.  Argghhh!  I honestly had no choice but to accept the gift of disappointment and stay home.

I did not want to accept The Gift.  I don’t like giving it, either.  And I don’t like having lupus.

Despite lupus and all the personal disappointments that go along with it, I am learning how to say “no.”  My survival depends on it.  I’m getting better at asking for help if I need it.  It’s a little easier for me to RSVP with a “thanks for the invite, but I can’t.”  I don’t always feel the need to justify my excuse if I have to cancel plans at the last minute.

When I sat down to write this entry, I expected to find the tie-in … the common thread …. to living with a chronic illness like lupus.  But The Gift is suitable for anyone attempting to find their own way in this world.

The Gift is not an excuse, mind you.  But it can be a blessing.


3 responses »

  1. The “gift of disappointment” was a new concept but one I’m definitely familiar with. I applaud you for knowing our limits and taking care of yourself before fulfilling a commitment that would set you back a couple of steps. A wise teacher of mine, Angeles Arrien, asked me the following questions “What’s learning me?” and “What’s working me?” They have gotten me out of a lot of bad thinking and gets me to look at how I can reframe my experience and turn the tides on the disappointment.

  2. I was talking with a co-worker about the possibility of having Lupus and she mentioned that there is a “sister-in-law”(?) in the family and smirked that “she made it almost debilitating”. As if to say, “It’s really not THAT bad, she just made it out to be”, but to somebody that is going through some of the same similar things I had to say how frustrating it really can be. For God’s sakes if I loose more hair I’ll be bald! Here’s to hoping my hair stops falling out as soon as they can figure out why it’s happening.

    Unfortunately, there’s a lot of folks out there that just don’t understand lupus! Invite your co-worker to check out and read The Spoon Theory. Losing your hair sucks. I have faith it will grow back. Keep your chin up sister!!

  3. Ahh–the gift of dissapointment…I know that all too well. As I sit here, feeling really bad because they took me off the plaquenil AND they are tapering me off prednisone, I have the shakes, and feel like someone stabbed me in my joints…all the while I take in the gift of dissapointment again…I’ll probably end up missing the christmas party tonight that we have planned…as well as the gift of dissapointment yet again tomorrow as I miss my work christmas party. This is the season of giving, and I guess I might have to expect that my gift this season will involve the gift of dissapointment too. I was just recently diagnosed, and never realized how hard it can be when your body justs “shuts down”. I missed a week or work this past week, so another “gift of dissapointment” is my soon to be lack of employment. I had another “gift” this week when I was too ill to take care of my own kids. Gosh, it was so hard to sit here in tears this week, at 35 years of age, and have my mom take care of me and tell me that I might need to “surrender”. What a tough pill to swallow. I’m 35 years old, I should be taking care of my aging parents, not the other way around. Ahh–some days I dwell in the reality of lupus, but then my old positive self comes out of the clouds to remind me that there are other gifts in life….

    These are the times I also remember the gifts in every day…chronic illness allows us to appreciate these gifts that ordinary people overlook. The twinkle in your child’s eyes when mommy is proud, the wag of your dog’s tail when you simply enter the room, the perfect peach on a summer afternoon, the extra squeeze hug from your daughter for no reason, that rare day someone who asks you how you are, not “how you feel”, an hour without worry, receiving emails from people who really believe that “chain emails” work, a day when you actually forget you are chronically ill, finding the perfect gift and watching someone open it, a day spent in your pj’s, not because you HAVE to but because you WANT to, looking in the mirror and seeing your old self on occasion, being around someone who truly makes you laugh and forget your reality for awhile…see these gifts of the every day make up for some of the gifts of dissapointment that lupus lays on us. As hard as it might be, I try to remember these gifts as my gifts of “gratitude” as I think I’ll call them.

    You have the right idea, kiddo … and remember you are NOT your disease! Let others care for you when they can because the giving and receiving are wonderful gifts. I totally love your saying of “gifts of gratitude.” We need to always be aware of that! Hope you’re doing well today 🙂

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