Looking Into The Face of Disappointment

Yesterday I was supposed to facilitate an art group at The Dale. It was going to be outside in the parking lot of our HQ, physically distanced, and safe. The goal was to give each participant their own supplies, and make leaves for a community wreath in which we would write on each leaf all the things we love about The Dale community. I had bought supplies and prepared the leaf stencils. The weather in the morning was looking up… or so I thought. About an hour before our group was meant to gather, I went outside and it was drizzling, damp, windy and cold. Now, The Dale is used to gathering here and there – outside and in. We are used to the elements and even have a tent for church outside. We are known for being good with going on the fly. However, strong wind and dampiness is not conducive to tracing and cutting delicate papers.

So I made the choice to cancel the group with the support to of my coworkers. I called folks that had wanted to show up and let them know. We decided to go on an outreach walk instead and give out hot chocolate (like I said, we are used being out in the elements). Suffice to say I was a bit disappointed. I had already felt like the day was “off” and this was just the icing on the cake. On top of that, by the time we finished outreach and I was preparing to go home, the sky cleared and the weather was lovely.

This is just how it goes sometimes. Things do not always go how we want. I know I don’t have to tell you that. Plans are going to change and days are going to feel off. Sometimes, that is hard to swallow. I was so excited to be facilitating this group. It had been a conversation Erinn and I have been having for a long time and it seemed logistically like this was the time to go for it. I was excited to get out of my comfort zone and “lead” a group – even a small one. I was excited to add this to the list of ways I have grown in my capacity, however small it may seem. And in one cloudy, windy, wet hour all those things went down the literal drain.

Now that I have had time to digest, this is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. It’s okay that I was disappointed and frustrated that things did not go to plan. And it is okay to want to try again one day when the weather permits. There are much larger things on the scale of life disappointments that can take the cake in terms of “hard stuff”. But it was a good reminder of what I would have written on my leaf had we had the art group:

I love that The Dale teaches me resilience. I love that my community is good at pivoting. I love that there is room for grace and imperfection. I love that there is room to continue to try again. I love that there is strength in saying, “I’m upset about this, and that’s okay.” Things will not always work out. The Dale’s COVID schedule is a prime example of how important it is to flow with life’s tips and turns and roll with the punches. Our friends’ strength in what can be a series of hard life things is a lesson in deep love and grace and strength and trust. So even though my art group blip is just a little drop in the hat of disappointment, it’s important for me to remember that when things don’t work out it does not mean you FAILED (my worst fear). It means that you can look disappointment in the eyes and say, “I will try again.”

With peace,

Meg


I am a community worker at The Dale ministries. The way that I can earn a living working at The Dale means I must fundraise for my entire salary. The cool thing is that means I can share my work with you in hopes that you will believe in it and want to walk alongside me prayerfully and financially. Please email me at meagan.gillard@gmail.com to chat more about what this looks like. Giving can be done monthly or one time via CanadaHelps, cheque, or PAR.

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