After my meltdown yesterday morning, and some TLC yesterday afternoon, I was lucky enough to get to spend an awesome evening with some dear friends.
These are my friends who have all known each other, in some sense, for over a decade. But friends who have busy enough lives that we see each other rather infrequently. Sitting down at the table, not a moment had passed since the last time we were together.
The discussion bordered on one of the best I’ve been a part of in years. A group of four people, of different backgrounds, in different situations, with very different ideas. Talking about religion. Talking about politics. Talking about relationships. Talking about family.
No two of us had the same ideas most of the night. But the conversation that flowed out of our inquiries, responses, searching of ourselves, gently opening each others’ wounds and removing armour left us all in a better place.
The one word that kept surfacing, no matter the topic, was expectations. How did we remain so close as friends? Because we have few expectations of each other. How do we repeatedly disappoint ourselves? By having too many expectations of ourselves. How do we repeatedly become disappointed with others? By having too many expectations of them. How do we let others anger and infuriate us? By letting their expectations of us, turn into our expectations.
These people are the people I would call in the middle of the night if I needed to take a child to the hospital. These people are the people who I would call to help my husband cut up a tree that had blown across the driveway in a storm. (OK, that really happened.) These people would help us move. (OK, that happened too.) These are good people.
We tackled subjects that were scary and sensitive and funny. But we didn’t have expectations of each other. We didn’t try to convince each other that one person’s belief about God was the right one. We didn’t assume that because you are gay or straight you have certain political views. We didn’t assume because you were Republican or Democrat that beliefs were set in stone.
Again and again, we came back to expectations. So much hurt and anger is the result of expecting too much. From expecting others to think just like we do. From expecting my children to perceive things the way I do . From expecting my husband to parent the same way I do. From expecting our parents to treat our siblings the way we do. From expecting people who have repeatedly hurt us to realize the hurt they have caused.
These are our expectations. Letting go a little on the reigns feels like taking a deep breathe after being underwater too long. Drenched in only my view of today, without my expectations for tomorrow, I am lighter than I have been in weeks.