I saw a sign one day somewhere – possibly on Pinterest – that read “Expect nothing. Appreciate everything.”
And of course, it caused me to stop and ponder as I tend to do when something profound hits me. So often in life, don’t we do the exact opposite of that sign though? Expect everything. Appreciate nothing.
Seems like we’ve been conditioned in our culture to expect everything. Expect that things will always go the way we want. Expect that everyone will believe the way we do. Expect to fall madly in love while you’re on a reality television show. Expect that your candidate will win political office.Expect that a new job will be the best one ever. Matter of fact, expect that you will get a hefty raise in salary while you’re at it.
Even in faith circles, there are so-called ‘prosperity preachers’ who tell us to expect God to give us what we want, expect to have our best life now, expect a miracle, expect healing, expect, expect, expect.
Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with having high expectations and our omnipotent God could easily give us those provisions if He chooses. But, truth be told, our expectations often go unmet. And we find God doesn’t give us what we want. He’s not Santa Claus. But I do believe He gives us what we need.
We, however, are like spoiled, overindulged children who, when given everything because it is expected, appreciate absolutely nothing.
Isn’t that why we are so very disappointed when things go awry? Not according to our plan. Because we do too much expecting and not enough appreciating?
I think we’d be happier people if we awakened each day expecting nothing. I imagine we would appreciate each and every thing that comes our way then.
Like a beautiful sunset, appearing as a hand painted canvas stretching out as far as the eye can see. An unexpected sight to behold at the end of a long well-lived day.
Sunsets are just one of the things I appreciate about life but don’t expect to see a breathtaking one every day. Living out here in the country where I can view them unobstructed is just one aspect of my daily life I do appreciate. Holding my beloved grandchildren, embracing my husband and children, sunshine-filled days, and time to worship and pray are just a few more simple joys that I appreciate so very much.
And I find I’m a happier person when I’m appreciative. You might say appreciation for life provides my bliss – perfect happiness, great joy.
So I want to embrace these words each and every day: Expect nothing. Appreciate everything. Appreciate bliss when I experience it.
(I’ve written this post and published this photo, which I snapped one July evening, to continue the online photography workshop – Developing Your Eye – that I missed participating in last summer. The theme for Day 4 was ‘bliss.’)
“Only a man who has felt ultimate despair is capable of feeling ultimate bliss.” ~ Alexandre Dumas