Letting Go of Expectations

Lara Schopp Articles, Staff Messages

By Paul Cutelli, Director of Technology and Administrative Services

Lao Tzu, the eastern philosopher proclaimed hundreds of years ago: “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” On the surface, this statement seems matter-of-fact; if you don’t deviate from the path you have chosen, you will end up exactly where you are intending to go. Yet, as is often the case in philosophy and in life, things are rarely exactly what they appear. In this instance, it is my opinion that Lao Tzu is trying to tell us something about expectations.

Is there a more “expecting” time in the church than Easter? There is an expectation that there will be baptisms on Palm Sunday, a brunch on Easter morning, and three services in the sanctuary filled with a meaningful message, the scent of lilies, and the songs of our choir. But what if one of those expectations was not met? What if you think that the brunch was not as good as last year or that there were not many children on the lawn for the Easter Egg Hunt? Would it distract you? Anger you?

My fear, and I believe the fear of Lao Tzu, is that expectations not being met can mar our appreciation of our world. We, as opinionated people, latch on to all the wrongs or not-quite-rights or breaches of tradition and in the process lose sight of the real point to the Easter season: the story of the resurrection.

Letting go of expectations is a hard task (especially for me!), but by releasing them it allows us to fully appreciate the world around us and to experience the Easter story like it is the very first time. To continue the metaphor, to get to where we need to go, we sometimes need to take a detour, go the “scenic route” and experience things not according to plan.
After all, no one was expecting Jesus to leave the tomb all those years ago. If he did not change direction, where would we be now?