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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Unreasonable Expectations

"When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways." I can only hope. I remember once, in my youth, I invited my best friend over. He couldn't come, he said, because he had plans to spend the day with another friend. I was beside myself. Wasn't I his best friend? Didn't he want to come over and play? Boo hoo! Yeah, yeah, silly. Or, rather, childish. A case of unreasonable expectations. As a child I had these bizarre notions of what a friend was like and what a best friend was like and what to expect from a friendship. Unreasonable expectations.

"When I became a man, I gave up childish ways." At least, you'd think, right? We like to think that we've matured and we've grown up and we're not childish anymore. So why is it that we routinely seem to suffer from these ongoing unreasonable expectations?

This last week a local coach, a favorite among parents and students alike, was fired because of a tragic but accidental drowning this last year. (Strangely, the other teacher on the scene was not fired.) You see, it appears that the school district believes that there should be no accidents, especially no deaths. They've remedied this problem, then, by eliminating one of the teachers on the scene and eliminating swim classes. There you go! All fixed! It doesn't help, of course, that the coach is suing the school district for emotional distress brought on by this drowning. Apparently it's the school district's fault that the young man died and the coach feels bad about it. Unrealistic expectations.

Or how about the whole BP Oil thing? An accident occurred. People died. A huge problem ensued. All bad things. The response, however, included an end to oil drilling in the Gulf. Why? Because, apparently, accidents should never happen. We should be able to do what we need to do without anything bad happening, whether it be drilling for oil or driving a car. If something bad happens, there will be consequences, blame, outrage, penalties. Because accidents should never happen. If they do, it isn't simply "an accident"; it's criminal negligence. It's a conspiracy! Unrealistic expectations.

Of course, the biggest version of unrealistic expectations for human beings is when it comes to God. "God," we think, "should conform to our standards." Oh, we'd not likely put it that way. Still, that's how it works out. If a loved one dies, we accuse God. "She died before her time! Why, God?" If God doesn't answer our prayers, we're upset. "Why aren't you giving me what I asked for, God?" And, of course, we tend to think that there is a higher form of "good and evil", a system of "justice" that God needs to meet and when He fails (as He always does), well, that's just wrong! I mean, if you say that God is good and God is just and He doesn't do what I consider good and just, then He's obviously a bad God. In fact, we have a real tendency to immerse God in our unrealistic expectations. There's really not much He can do to achieve our expectations because our expectations, in the final analysis, make no sense. Unrealistic expectations.

"When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways." I can only wish, it seems, because we all succumb to unreasonable expectations at times ... just like any child would.


Marshal Art said...

Well, Stan. It's quite plain by your picture that you haven't grown up at all!!! :)

This is a great post. It's another take on how one's view of God is no better than creating a god in one's own image.

Stan said...

I keep trying to train myself to stop that. I haven't arrived, but I'm getting better.

Marshal Art said...