I don’t feel that way right now, but one of these days I could… Feel guilty, sad or remorseful for somehow not living up to your expectations or hopes. Not meeting my obligations or fulfilling my promises to you. Again, not something that comes up that often, but I expect that it will eventually happen.
To be sure, others can disappoint me, but that seems just to be a part of life. None of us can escape occasional lapses in perception, judgement or memory, so it’s not a big deal when it happens. But, sooner or later, I will undoubtedly let someone down and that could really bother me.
Why? When I fail to live up to my promises or best qualities, that might be one of the first signals that my dependability, trustworthiness or capability has shifted just slightly downhill. That it’s leaning toward some inevitable precipice of older adult life, when I will more regularly apologize for missing appointments, forgetting promises, misreading verbal cues, misspeaking or misunderstanding what’s going on.
When the slope of disappointment shifts downward, it’s possible that the tilt will get worse: I might not even realize how I’ve frustrated, disregarded or disillusioned others. Or that I might be losing awareness of other important parts of my life.
Here’s God’s grace in all of this, though: If I can readily understand and accept others’ missteps, I can also accept their willingness to empathize with me when I miss the mark. AND, because there’s no sinfulness involved here, there’s no need for expressing guilt or begging forgiveness.
Miscues and missed responsibilities will doubtlessly occur throughout my life—perhaps increasing as I grow older. But I’ll continue to accept this fact of life and be glad for mutually supportive relationships.
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