A couple of weeks ago, my brother and nephew were visiting from out of state, so I took the day off work. The weather was beautiful, and with a three-year-old to entertain, we decided to take advantage of the many parks near my home.

So, we set out that morning after tea and scones (in honor of the royal wedding that was taking place across the pond) in search of adventure.

Along the way to our first destination, I told Kole that we were going to a really great park that he would just love. He was excited. I was excited. It was going to be a perfect day.

When we got there and parked, my brother and I began walking toward the playground, but Kole sort of drifted off in the wrong direction.

“Kole, this way,” my brother called to him.

“See, we’re at the park,” I told him, pointing to the artsy playground. It was a unique play area, not your typical swings and slides, but lots of things to climb on and trails to run around.

Kole turned our direction, looking just beyond us.

“That’s not the park,” he said, apparently expecting the one next to his own house in another state.

“Yes, it is. This is the park by Aunt Char’s house,” my brother tried to explain.

But Kole just couldn’t get used to the idea of the new park after having a clearly expecting the usual one. After just about 30 minutes, we ended up leaving and going to a more traditional park.

When he saw the towering slides and the rows of swings, Kole said, “There it is; there’s the park.”

No matter how artsy the alternative, when our expectations aren’t met, when a new experience is different than we are used to, it’s hard to be pleased.

Later that same day, a friend was telling me about her granddaughter’s response to the royal wedding.

When asked what she thought of the extravagant affair, she said, “It was ok. It was mostly like a princess wedding, only there were a lot more people and not as many animals.”

Walt Disney would have been proud.

How often am I disappointed by the perfect occasion because my expectations were more in line with a cartoon fairy tale?

And then there’s the problem with communication. Sometimes our unrealistic expectations are the result of semantics.

Last night, my seven-year-old friend Clara came over for one of our occasional cooking lessons. This time, she taught me how to make French toast, and I taught her how to make a fruit salad.

When we were just about done washing blueberries and peeling oranges and chopping strawberries, she said, “Is this actually fruit salad? Or is it just cut up fruit?”

Well, she had me. Because in my house, those two things mean the same thing. But apparently not to her.

“I guess we could add some yogurt, or something,” I suggested eagerly. Afterall, she was making the French toast almost single-handedly. I needed to pull my weight.

Clara licked her lips and smiled, so I knew I was on to something. I pulled out the Greek yogurt with the strawberry and pomegranate glaze I had just purchased and stirred it right into the fruit. The reds, blues, and oranges of the fruit looked festive in the pink yogurt.

Later, when we tried it, it was delicious. We had turned a disappointedly simple dish into a new recipe!

Without the help of a single dancing animal.
Photo by Markusram from Flickr, used with permission under the Creative Commons License.


Dawn of Everyday Ordinary Dawnings wrote about her own battle against the disappointment of unrealistic expectations this week. Visit her blog to see how she is waging war against the way things were, the way things should be, and the fairy tales we all need to quit telling ourselves.

Go THERE and then come back HERE again!

Join me for regular jaunts around The High Calling network, randomly visiting fellow bloggers, soaking up their words and ideas, and then coming back here to write about them from my perspective. This is what The High Calling network is all about, after all.

Our site is about casting a vision that is clear enough and inspiring enough that our readers can run with it on their own sites. We then spend the majority of our editorial time listening to them on their sites and helping them shine as writers. We believe in the power of the laity so much that we are relying on them and their audiences to help spread the vision that has been given to us. – Marcus Goodyear, senior editor, thehighcalling.org (from “The Challenge, Strategy, and Execution of Combining Web Properties” by Dan King on churchcrunch.com)

Each Thursday (or Friday if Blogger happens to be down for 20 hours!), consider going “There and Back Again” yourself. It’s simple.

1.) Choose another High Calling Blogger to visit. It can be someone you have “met” before, or do what I do, and work your way through the “Member Posts” section of thehighcalling.com to meet someone new.
2.) Visit his blog, digesting the message until it becomes something that you can write about.
3.) Go back to your blog and write about it, being sure to link to the post that gave you the idea so that your readers can visit, too.
4.) Add the button above to your blog so your readers know you are participating in “There and Back Again.”
5.) Go back to the Network blog and leave a comment so your new friend can feel the link love!
6.) Complete the journey by returning here, to Wide Open Spaces, and enter your link so that we all can benefit from the new High Calling connection you have made.