Saturday, October 20, 2012

Coping with disappointment

This was the photo that caught my eye this morning as I was browsing through my photos: it's a statue of St. Francis, and stands before the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, where millions of people come to worship and pray and find solace in the presence of his burial site.

Francis, the son of a wealthy merchant, had left home outfitted as a knight and full of dreams of glory. But God spoke to him in a dream, told him he was not to be a knight and sent the young man home. So this is the downcast Francis, returning to his hometown, embarrassed and terrified of the treatment he will receive.

I suspect we all know that feeling of dejection -- the moment when the elation we felt when we thought we had found our purpose in life subsides; when the dreams we had of glory fall apart and we are left with a sense of failure, and wondering what next, what could we possibly have to offer the world. So I found this statue heartening: it's a gentle reminder that we are not the only ones to have ever felt that way. But it's also a reminder that setbacks are not necessarily the end, that a failure in our chosen field doesn't mean that life is over; that if we continue to be attentive, we may find (as that wonderful Anne Murray song says) that "when one door slams, another door opens."

Patience, my friends. Patience.

No comments: