Today, just like every day, my daughter participated in her online gymnastics practice. Although they can’t be in the gym on the equipment, they continue to diligently practice each day. They do a series of exercises that will help them return to the gym as easily as possible. Splits, leaps, running, handstands, you name it, they do it all. Part of today’s workout included squeezing a tennis ball. Apparently it builds muscle in your fingers and wrists. While I sat and ate my second lunch, she squeezed a tennis ball. I knew what she was doing, Buddy, our ten year old Labrador did not. The minute she asked me to find a tennis ball and bring it to the basement it was like he was called to duty. His attention intensely focused on the ball. With each squeeze his eyes grew as if he was going to lunge towards the ball. Each time she released her grip his eyes would relax. For thirty minutes he sat next to her and watched her squeeze and release the ball. For thirty minutes he stared without moving another muscle, waiting for the ball to eventually fly into the air. He was ready. So ready. He is a Labrador, he was born to retrieve and he was just doing what he knows how to do best. He knows when someone is holding a tennis ball, he is supposed to retrieve it. But that is not what happened today. Buddy’s expectations were not met. In fact no matter how hard he stared at that ball, it did not move. No matter how much he wanted it to, that was not the plan for the tennis ball today.
Sometimes I feel like Buddy. I have expectations of how things are supposed to go. I may try really hard to get them to work the way I want them to, but they don’t. I wait, I watch, I hope. But especially right now, my expectations are not met. There is so much I was planning on, hoping for, looking forward to. So much I was expecting. So much that will not turn out as I had hoped. And that is hard.
But different from Buddy, I have the privilege of knowing that no matter what my expectations are, God holds the future. I may feel disappointed, and I may wish things were different, but I will push myself to trust that God knows what he’s doing. I am reminded in Proverbs 3:5-6 to “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not in your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” So as things continue to change and it feels like plans unravel, I am reminded to trust. Completely. Fully. Totally.