If there could be a picture of expectation, I would imagine it would look a lot like this moment I captured. Bubbles, of all sizes, float around the young girl grasping at what she can catch. She is fueled by the innocent hope of reaching farther. In an instant, expectations are met, burst, or simply disappear.
I’m not sure why we hold so many expectations of ourselves and particularly of others. If we really spend time thinking about those moments of harnessed energy that are largely made up of fictitious rules, grand overtures and elevated emotions. We are met with the harsh reality these expectations can be unattainable. They can destroy us and our relationships with others.
This summer held a lot of expectations for all of us. For me, it was supposed to be a lot of things..a big adventure trip, growth goals for the bakery, camping as a family of 5, college send off, and more. I set mental plans in motions. I blew a lot of bubbles feeling the giddy excitement of coming together. But bubbles burst one by one in a slow showcase of changes in everything around me; changes in health, changes in desires, changes in plans.
Our city is stretched with not just the Delta variant and cases rising, but the harsh truth of violent crime on the rise. I find myself holding my breath a bit tighter, my people a bit closer, wondering what change might come next. The bubble I created about life and loss and humanity burst way back on a hot day in July of 2001 but I can still feel the good energy it held. I allow myself to recreate it. I try to reform the ideas I held then but understand them in new ways.
Many of us might like living in the bubbles we create but maybe we don’t always know what is best. Maybe it’s what we breathe into the space that has us working too hard to keep up the entertainment. Maybe we’ve floated so far from reality we know we’re likely to burst. We can practice breathing new thinking into our space and watch the joy we can spread or the harm we can create.
We can set the boundaries of what we expect or don’t expect. It can be life changing to open up our view. We can use our spheres of influence to bubble up goodness or discontent.
In order to even create a bubble, it takes drawing in for a deep breath. Maybe for today just stop there. For today, don’t exhale the expectation. Just breathe and see what comes next.
Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life…Mary Oliver.