Many years ago the great New England writer, Henry Thoreau, once said the vast majority of people live lives of quiet desperation. I think that if the same author were living today, and revised that line, he might say the vast majority of people are unhappy campers. And in saying it this way, he would be politically correct.
Having unrealistic expectations can be a real source of personal unhappiness. God gave to each one of us in the language of the Gospels, five talents, two talents or one talent. Each one on the part of God is expected to be used by us to its fullest. And if we keep that relationship with God and utilize all our talents, realistically, we are going to have a lot of personal happiness. But if you look at the persons who have unrealistic expectations, you can understand why they are basically unhappy campers. Happiness comes from within. Abraham Lincoln mentioned this years ago when he said you are as happy as you make up your mind to be. If an individual waits for the government, waits for the State, and waits for the Church to bring him personal happiness, that individual is not only unrealistic, that individual will be quite frustrated.
We have elderly people that we meet in nursing homes who are still complaining at 85 and 90 years of age that they cannot see or hear or move as they once did. We have younger couples who expect to get in three years what it took their parents 30 years to accumulate. We have the history of the dot COM's who expected to make that fortune over night on Wall Street and in the process lost trillions of dollars. Their expectations were unrealistic.
When you look at the teachings of Christ, he taught us to seek first the Kingdom of God. He taught us the value of asking God for our daily bread. He taught us the value of being spiritual. Being united to God, being anchored to Christ, keeps us spiritually in tune with the expectations that God has for each one of us. They are quite realistic. To ignore God, to ignore your relationship with God, to ignore your relationship with Christ, is quite unrealistic.
I ask thee for no meaner pelf
Than that I may not disappoint myself,
That in my action I may sour as high
As I can now discern with this clear eye.
- Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
- A Prayer