I’ve been thinking quite a bit about expectations, some generally and some specifically. I’ve decided that it’s difficult to know if your own expectations of someone or something are reasonable unless you have something to measure against. Something constant and true.
There is much about our lifestyle as Americans that would become entirely unreasonable expectations almost anywhere else. I’ve been thinking about this off and on since my daughter, Cathie, went to Bolivia last summer and came home with some astute observations about lifestyle.
Cathie was spending time working shoulder to shoulder with people to whom indoor toilets and hot showers, or even what we might consider a ‘poverty-level’ income, are luxuries few expect. The people who hosted their team truly hope to one day own a home into which they can welcome shoe shiners – street youth who earn about 12 cents per shoeshine working the crowded streets in the city of LaPaz. These faithful people, Pedro and his family, have been repeatedly told that such a dream is unreasonable to expect, that it can never happen. In their hearts, though, they are sure that all things are possible with God, so they will not succumb to “can’t” and abandon their vision to make a home for the homeless in the midst of their own sacrifices.
Can’t. I have often encountered – and sometimes I’ve even been one of – those who have become infected with the “I can’t” mindset. It doesn’t matter how simple or complex the proposal, “can’t” people always respond with reasons or excuses why it is beyond reasonable to expect something to be worked out. Sometimes, in the case of the people who give reasons, the plan has not even been set into motion and the list is full of ways it will fail or ought not be attempted because the dream is too big. I’ve found sometimes that it is expectations that are too small.
So there are expectations about material things (which fed into my last post about what to take when escaping a fire or disaster), but there are also relationship expectations. I suppose there are others, as well, but those are the two most on my mind.
We humans easily make all sorts of expectations of what any given relationship ought to look like, or ought to bring to us in terms of consideration and favors, behavior and reciprocal treatment. What’s most difficult is when one person’s understanding of relationship turns out to be so drastically different from another’s. That’s something else I’ve had cause to consider over a long period of time.
I don’t have anywhere to go with this now, but the thoughts have been rolling around in my head. I welcome any thoughts or insight you have on these or other kinds of expectations.