Good Grief! Dealing with Disappointment
Good Grief! How to Dealing with Disappointment
by Dr. Kristin Keller
“A new era of human spaceflight was set to begin as American astronauts would once again launch an American rocket from American soil to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley were set to fly on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, lifting off on a Falcon 9 rocket at 4:33 p.m. EDT May 27, from Launch Complex 39A in Florida, for an extended stay at the space station for the Demo-2 mission. Around T-minus 17 minutes, the call to abort the launch was made due to weather conditions. After the launch was called off, Mr. Behnken and Mr. Hurley had to sit patiently for about an hour until the fuel was pumped out of the rocket and it was safe for them to be released from their seats and exit the Falcon 9 rocket. The next scheduled attempt to launch was set for Saturday, May 30th, at 3:22pm EDT. It was successful.”
To be honest, I didn’t even know a rocket was scheduled to launch on Wednesday, May 27th. The “live” feed from NASA popped up in my Facebook feed and I thought, “This should be fun and interesting to watch” (It was also nice to see something on Facebook that was exciting rather than devastating). I let the “live” feed continue to play from my laptop as I worked on other projects scheduled to be completed for the day. I know very little about space, space travel, rockets, astronauts, etc., but I found myself very intrigued. This was a historic moment. It didn’t take long before I left my projects behind and became completely intrigued by everything taking place the final hour before lift off. From seeing the new SpaceX spacesuits (that were recently given a 5-star rating by Astronauts Behnken and Hurley) to the hearing about the rocket’s ability to reach speeds of about 17,500 miles per hour in order to remain in orbit, I was mesmerized.
While watching the astronauts sit in preparation for launch, I began to imagine the anticipation welling up inside of them and I, too, began to feel a bit of anticipation inside. I also felt a little claustrophobic at the thought of being in those suits and in those seats for what would be an approximate 19-hour trip.
T-minus 20 minutes…
T-minus 19 minutes…
T-minus 18 minutes…
T-minus 17 minutes – abort mission.
This call to abort mission no doubt deflated the overwhelming excitement and anticipation experienced by the NASA Crew, the astronauts, people watching live from around the world, and even me in my office. I was disappointed, and I had only been watching for about an hour. I had not been preparing for months, even years, for this epic moment that was postponed.
Delays can be so derailing. And it is often during delays that disappointment and tremendous loss are experienced with grief being left untouched.
Hyphens, watching this historic journey unfold and feeling that roller coaster moment of excitement turned disappointment made me think of each of you and what you have experienced over the past few months – through no control of your own.
Looking back to January 1, 2020, so many of you were suited up, locked in, ready to launch into all God had for you for the new year – a year of perfect vision, right? You were going to get focused. You were going to align yourself to God’s will and launch into something amazing, your best days, your brightest hour. So, you thought.
That is, until the call was made and each of your personal missions, goals, dreams, and plans were aborted. The call was made to cancel your Graduation Day. You were required to abandon the mission field filled with college students and co-workers that you were so determined to reach this year. Wedding plans called off. Jobs lost. Financial problems. Fear of the unknown. And, to top it off, the doors of your church were closed.
Disappointment all too quickly became your closest friend. You experienced losses that you potentially have yet to grieve. There you sat, in the seat that was supposed to launch you into memorable moments that now became missed moments. You were forced to solitude instead of all that could have been.
God works in mysterious ways.
Your life’s path became a mystery filled with one question – Why? If you are not careful, this question can completely destroy your trust in Him. Or it can launch you into a deep place of trust that will sustain you in moments of disappointment, loss, grief, pain, and even in joy.
Questions do not frustrate God, but don’t let His answer frustrate you. He does not work according to your plans, desires, dreams, and goals. He is God, alone.
But, He loves you enough that “no good thing will He withhold – IF you walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11, NKJV).
You don’t know tomorrow, but He holds it.
You have to manage your emotions of hurt, pain, and anger, not mask them.
Take a moment to pause and think back on the last few months. As a young adult, you’ve experienced a global pandemic, witnessed societal unrest, dealt with ethnic tensions, heard conflicting reports, and been exposed to everyone’s opinions whether you wanted to hear them or not. Not to mention, what all of the above has caused you to suffer personally.
Whether you realize it or not, you have experienced trauma. Loss has laced your recent reality.
So, the question I am asking is, what have you done with your disappointment? Have you experienced “good grief?”
I am not a licensed counselor and my knowledge on the proper way to grieve is very limited. But, experience is my guide when it comes to talking about waiting and also dealing with loss.
I know what it feels like to wait to the point of excruciating pain driving you to question God and nearly lose trust in His plan and promises.
I know suffering that is the result of loss. It’s heartbreaking.
But, I also know and have experienced personally, “the Lord is near to those who have a broken heart” (Psalm 34:18, NKJV).
Even if you feel paralyzed by your pain, if He is near, the miraculous is possible.
The astronauts had to sit belted in – stuck – in the very seat that was supposed to take them to their destiny for nearly an hour as numerous measures were completed for them to safely disembark. All they could do in that moment was wait.
When they finally made their exit from the rocket, they headed back to the Astronaut Crew Quarters. I have a feeling they didn’t return to “life as usual” and spend the next two days hanging out at the beach and staying at the Airbnb their family members had secured for the weekend. In their waiting, I guarantee they prepared for the next mission. Yes, even in their disappointment.
Amazing things can happen if you choose to prepare while you wait.
I call it “The Isaiah 40 Principle.”
Isaiah 40:28-31, NKJV: “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”
Did you see it? The key word?
The Scripture says, “They that wait – SHALL – renew their strength…”
Wait is not a passive word. It is an active word.
It is IN the process of WAITING that you have the opportunity to prepare for what God has planned for your future.
They that WAIT, renew their strength, mount up with wings like eagles, run and are not weary and walk and are not faint – this is what happens WHILE you wait, not after you experience a season of waiting.
There’s power in the waiting. With new pain comes new strength.
Hyphen, He is close.
Your cries of disappointment will not push Him away. Giving yourself time to grieve the losses you’ve experienced will not alter His plan for your life.
Manage your emotions at His feet.
You have an expected end that He has already planned (Jeremiah 29:11, KJV).
What you are living in right now is that space between disappointment and re-launch.
It’s in this place healing can sweep in and cover every broken part.
It’s in this place preparation takes place for the next mission.
It’s in this place where disappointment and grief can be handled by the Master.
Where pain can become joy.
And hopelessness can become a renewed trust.
While you wait, in this place prepare, so the next time you hear “launch” you are ready for the mission!