In Your Own Words: Diana Trautwein – Disappointment

dis·ap·point·mentnoun \ˌdis-ə-ˈpȯint-mənt\

: the state or feeling of being disappointed
: someone or something that disappoints people
: a disappointing person or thing


It’s been on the calendar for a year. One. Full. Year. And I had to miss it. My nephew got married last Saturday. A stellar occasion, according to those who were there. A two-day event in northern California, alongside the Russian River, a stone’s throw from a beautiful stand of redwood trees, a short drive from some of the most beautiful vineyards in the world. My son and his wife were there; my brother and his wife were there (of course!), but I?

I was right here.

Here at home, crying quietly and feeling deeply disappointed. Here’s why: I injured my foot about a year ago. And things got worse over the months between then and now, requiring two different kinds of surgical intervention and a long, LONG recovery period. We thought we had planned things well—we counted backwards from the wedding date the eight weeks the doctor told us recovery would take, and scheduled the surgery for that week.

He did not tell us that eight weeks was the minimum recovery time, that in real life, not a medical textbook, this recovery takes more like twelve to sixteen weeks. Though I am now able—just this week!—to do full weight-bearing, I am not yet able to walk without a boot or without a walker. And this wedding was outdoors, on rough terrain—not possible for me yet.

So, yes. I’m feeling disappointed.

And living with disappointment is a tough gig. Nobody chooses it. Yet somehow, we all experience it. Life is filled with disappointing moments and disappointing people. If we let it, disappointment can sometimes move to center stage and maybe even begin to define how we understand ourselves and how we experience life.

Disappointment can lead to discouragement. And discouragement can lead to what feels a lot like depression. Maybe not clinical depression, but that lingering ‘down’ feeling, that sense that nothing will ever be right, so why bother?

And yet . . .


What I’m trying to practice this week, on the other side of the disappointment, is this: finding small ways to be grateful and to celebrate. Dylan took a long time to find the right partner—now he has found her. Hooray! He and his mom got to use their considerable artistic skills to create a beautiful and memorable event. Thank you, God! They were surrounded by people who love them and wish them well—what a gift.

And suddenly, as I look at photos on Facebook and get a personal report from both my son and my brother, I can see it. I can feel it. I can celebrate from 400 miles away and a few days late. I can be thankful for family, for the commitment of married love, for the joy of partnership. Yes, I’m disappointed not to have been there. But I’m so glad it happened—even if it happened without me.



Diana Trautwein

Diana Trautwein is a retired-part-time-pastor-learning-to-be-a-spiritual-director with a family she adores sensing an increasingly urgent call to write-her-life-down, to preserve her sanity and create some space to breathe. She is a regular contributor to A Deeper Story‘s Family Channel. You can connect with her at her blog or on Facebook or Twitter.

In Your Own Words

An important part of bringing words to life is encouraging other writers with their words. In this regular feature, I invite other writers to write about one word that captures where they are in life at that moment, much like my own #wordoftheweek writing discipline. What is your one word?

Photo above by Linda Tanner, via Flickr, used with permission under the Creative Commons License

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    reply Charity Singleton Craig ,

    Diana – Thank you so much for this. Disappointment can really sideline us if we do not find a way to deal with it. You have shown us the way here. Thank you.

  • reply Glenda Childers ,

    You always speak so sweetly of your nephews. I am sorry you didn’t get to go. And even more sorry for the physical pain you have dealt with recently.


    • reply Diana Trautwein ,

      thanks for the sweet sympathy, Glenda. Things are slowly getting/better and easier and for that we are grateful.

    • reply Lori ,

      Oh Diana, I can only imagine how disappointed you must have been. If I could have been able to talk to you I would have told you that anything to do with your foot always takes longer than they say. I used to be in the foot business before my current career. AND I know that area well, having grown up smack dab in the middle of that gorgeous country. But, God, as you know is able to restore all that is lost. He was there as you cried and He is able to mend all those losses and disappointments like no one else can. Oh I feel for you……..And Sandra?? I listened to that Kay Arthur tape (yes the tape) until I almost wore it out! Blessings to you BOTH. Lori

      • reply Diana Trautwein ,

        Thanks, Lori. My foot recovery was complicated by a recurrence of a pretty severe bout of GERD, requiring an endoscopy and several weeks of eating very little. ALL of it ended with exhaustion for both my husband and for me, so that lovely driving trip we had planned had to be scuttled. I’m glad we didn’t push it, but really sorry to have missed it. Life is mixed up like that, you know?

      • reply Sandra Heska King ,

        I am intimately acquainted with this word, dear friend. And privileged to walk with you through yours.

        Years ago Kay Arthur taught me the concept of the deadly D’s, and how the battle begins with disappointment. She likened it to an “arrow” of a military offense penetrating our line of defense at its weakest point. Its followed by discouragement, depression, despair, and ultimately demoralization where everything falls apart and fear and apathy replace hope.

        She also reminded me of how disappointment can actually be a God appointment.

        I’m glad my life is happening with you in it. You so often infuse me with strength and hope.

        • reply Diana Trautwein ,

          Thank you, Sandy – back at you, my friend. And that’s quite the list from our friend Kay. Thanks for the reminder.

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