Insignificant Expectations

David Copperfield and Great Expectations both were written in the first person. Neither novel, nor their plot lines, have anything to do with what’s on my mind this morning. But, like most of what I write, relevance often is out of place in my thought processes.

No, what’s on my mind this morning is how unusually well-kept the guest room is this morning. That’s the room that also serves as my little-bitty study, since the air in the room that was to be my study when we first moved to this house is impossible to condition, thanks to poor HVAC planning and enormous windows that magnify heat gain or heat loss, depending on the position of the sun and the northern hemisphere’s seasons. The reason the little-bitty study/guest room is so remarkably tidy this morning is that we expected a guest to occupy it overnight last night. A woman with whom I used to work contacted me to say she would be in Hot Springs for a “celebration of life” for a deceased friend; she suggested we get together and I agreed. Because of the timing of her visit, my wife and I expected she would stay overnight and would return to Dallas this morning. My friend suggested she would stay over, too, because she does not like to drive in the dark. And, because yesterday was the only scheduled screening at my church of a documentary I hoped to see, I invited her to join us in watching American Heretics: The Politics of the Gospel. She said it sounded interesting.

When she arrived yesterday afternoon, around 1 pm, she said she might not stay the night, after all. She might drive back to Dallas after the screening, which would be over by 5. And she did. She left around 5:30. I assume she got home before 11 last night. Based on our earlier communication (before she arrived), I expected she would stay with us. But the expectation was not met. It was, fortunately, an insignificant expectation. My world was not upended. But the expectation led me to tidy up the guest room…fresh sheets, clearing away computer and paper clutter and the like. The room could use periodic tidying, so all was not lost with her decision to drive back. Were I the driver, I wouldn’t have done it. Driving several hours in the dark on a crowded four-lane highway is not my idea of fun. But that’s just me.

My wife opted not to go to the film, even though she was looking forward to it. She’s wrestling with a trio of health issues that makes going out a little unpleasant and challenging, so she decided to stay home. Ach. If it ever comes out on Netflix, I’ll be sure to let her know so she can view it.

What about the film? My friend said she enjoyed it. I did, as well. Last night, though, I read some reviews of the film, one of which caused me to consider matters I hadn’t considered during the “heat of the emotional validation” provided by the film. Regardless, I found the film both informative and, to a degree, inspirational.

My jocular language this morning notwithstanding, I’m feeling a little down for no specific reason. It’s the sort of down that’s cured by time; nothing else seems to work, though I haven’t tried everything (like little blue pills, syringes full of narcotics…that sort of everything). But it’s also the kind of down that seems it will never end, even though I know it will, eventually. It’s a low-grade hopelessness made modestly worse by a light grey, yet bright, sky. I can imagine how easy it would be to get addicted to drugs that would erase this dull despondency.

The grey clouds are thinning, allowing spots of blue to appear, so the sky is attempting to improve my attitude. I hope it succeeds. I’d like to feel more enthusiastic about facing the day.


About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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