Now on the upside..when you expect or hope for nothing or very little..you can be elated when someone goes out of their way to demonstrate love or sacrifice for you, you can be proud that you passed the test or got the job that you thought you were not qualified for, you can rejoice when life ends up better than you plan.
There are some life experiences we can prepare for like a driver's license test or when you study to get your degree, license or credential in something but if you have learned any wisdom from life, you realize that all the knowledge in the world does not prepare for the experience of it. I studied nursing in school and did well in my classes and in my clinics, I worked at a hospital for the majority of my schooling and before that at a doctor's office. However, I was still terrified when I was officially on the floor and working with real people that I was responsible for...I WAS RESPONSIBLE. I still am learning every single time I work. I gain knowledge about the body's process and about disease/illness and I gain understanding of the human response to them, both physically and emotionally. And let me tell you, I don't care how great of a student you are or if you have a photographic memory, you will NOT know everything and in actuality you learn ever so much more after you're "out there". Experience and the ability to be teachable far outweigh the book knowledge.
There are things we think we're prepared for like marriage and parenting. I remember thinking how indestructible we were as a couple, ready to take on the world with our love and faith feeling like nothing could bring us down from our elation of being together. I don't exactly like to say we were "brought down", we were just presented with life as two sinners learning to love even when you don't feel like it, when it's not reciprocated and when life isn't what you expected it to be.
NOTHING and I repeat nothing can prepare you for parenting. I don't care if you were the oldest of 18 kids, babysat for your entire life, if you were a pediatric nurse (as I was), if you're stinking Mother Teresa...nothing can prepare you for the magnitude of love you will feel for your child. Beyond that, nothing will prepare you for the trials of having the child(ren), that you love so much, from breaking your heart on occasion. If you become a parent and believe your children will "rise up and call you blessed" when they are three, ten or fifteen..you are wrong. They may, we HOPE, "get it" when they become adults or parents..but it may actually take that long or never occur. Oh sure, they'll have their moments when you catch a glimpse of understanding in them or you may have a child who is unusually mature, yet on the whole, you shouldn't expect to hear them say, "God bless you mother for disinfecting the toilet, buying and making me meals, for taking care of me when I vomited on you, for laundering my filthy clothes and for the damage having me has done to your bladder. Bless you, oh mother of mine.." In fact, most days I feel like a mess and wish I looked more like the moms who seem to "have it all together.." I found a blogger who had a cartoon that cracked me up. Check it out here. http://daniellaindie.wordpress.com
Expectations are a source of my pride. They are because I believe I deserve so. Haven't you heard it a thousand times in the media.."whatever makes you happy", "it's all about you", "I deserve the best"...A genuine life involves giving without expectation, serving without self gratification, genuine love involves self sacrifice. Choosing to love the other person more than yourself..Choosing to work hard without praise. It's a choice.
I parent because I love my children, not because I expect love back. I stay married because I do love my husband, because I made an oath to God and to my spouse, not because I expect life to be perfect what I think "I deserve". I work hard, because it honors God, I take pride in what I do and want to do it well and because people's lives and sometimes their hearts are in my hands (figuratively, not literally). Do I fail? Absolutely, every day actually. Do I get my hopes and expectations up? All the time and tomorrow I will get on the scale and hope that miraculously, I will have lost 20 lbs overnight, and that I will wake up with an amazing singing voice..I hope, but I don't expect it.
"Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed." -Alexander Pope.
I do it for the joy it brings, cause I'm a joyful girl. 'Cause the world owes us nothing, we owe each other the world. Ani Difranco (American Singer, Song Writer and Guitarist. b.1970)
"We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, 'Blessed are they that mourn,' and I accept it. I've got nothing that I hadn't bargained for. Of curse it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not imagination."-CS Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Isaiah 40:31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.