When I was a freshman in college, I was, like many of us, trying to figure out where I fit in. I went through rush and joined a sorority only to become friends with two girls on my dorm who were in a different sorority. Their sorority had been the only one that didn't ask me back during Rush Week. After my third visit there, I was set up to talk to a girl that I just didn't click with.
It was sort of like having a conversation with a stick of butter.
I won't get started on the ridiculous methods of a sorority rush week (and the fact that there's no way you're going to hit it off with everyone) but I'll just say it didn't take long for me to realize I was not in the right place.
In my sorority, I didn't belong. And the disappointment of not being able to join my friends' sorority weighed on me. Heavy, like hardening cement.
Perhaps my friends' sorority seemed more elusive, more desirable because they'd turned me down, or maybe I just really wanted to be where my friends were, and I'd learned (a little too late) that a club or organization can help you assimilate but it doesn't determine where you'll fit in.
I made the hard decision (at least as a college freshman) to de-pledge my sorority in hopes of joining a different one the following year. This was not without repercussions. For someone who hates conflict, I certainly had lopped a healthy dose right on my plate.
But it didn't matter because I knew I didn't fit, and something in my gut told me it was the right thing to do.
The following year, I rushed again. And joined the sorority my friends had joined the year before. But this meant they were already living in the sorority house and I was an ARA in a dorm. I would be required to live in the house my junior year.
It wasn't ideal. There were so many different disappointments throughout the entire process, and I didn't understand. Why had I made such great friends if I wasn't going to get to spend every waking moment with them? Why did I have to feel the rejection of being turned away? Why did I have to make enemies with the girls in the first sorority, including a psychotic pledge mom who later accosted me while I was at work in the mall?
You know when you're young, little things add up to big things and soon blow into huge dramas. I was there. I mourned it. It wasn't the way it was supposed to go.
But now I'm older, and I look back and I see the way everything worked out. My junior year, I had to live in the sorority house. It was a requirement, so there I was. My friends had moved off campus, but I was sharing a bathroom with 40 other girls.
One night, I came home from rehearsal.
I was playing Cecily Cardew in The Importance of Being Earnest.
(Why, yes, I AM wearing a corset. The divets it left behind in my skin prepared me for the impending stretch marks that were only a few years away...)
And there was this guy playing the piano in our living room. (Yes, he was showing off.) I knew of him (and not in a good way) but I hadn't seen this side of him before. I mean, this guy was talented.
It's funny how in the midst of all that disappointment, I can see now that God set me up. He worked it out so on that October night, I would come in and see a different side of someone I hadn't paid attention to before. Adam had spent the summer at a church camp and found God, but finding God in college isn't easy.
Perhaps God knew this. Perhaps he knew my future husband would need someone else who shared his new-found beliefs.
It's like I can rewind in my head and play out a different scenario... If I hadn't been matched with a stick of butter. If I hadn't been turned away from that sorority. If I hadn't joined another one. If I hadn't de-pledged. If I hadn't lived in the house my junior year...
Would any of this be possible?
My point is that sometimes our disappointments are really gifts. I've said it before, but it's been heavy on my heart--maybe there's someone else out there who needs to hear it...who needs to see that being disappointed isn't always a bad thing. Sometimes it's the thing that leads us to the right thing. Sometimes, disappointment is a welcome friend.
This Christmas, if you're feeling disappointed--about anything--I hope you can tuck that feeling away and focus on the fact that one day...maybe not very far off, you'll be able to rewind and see how, while it didn't make sense at the time, there is a very good reason you were disappointed. It's setting you up for something else.
And it's NOT for nothing. I promise.
*Speaking of disappointment, one of the prizes from last week's giveaways has not been claimed. If it's not claimed by tomorrow, I'll draw a new winner!