Monday, September 26, 2022

Expectations - Cathy Joy Hill

What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” the things God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV

“Expectations rob joy.” 

I have become fond of this saying and have shared it with many people. I had become a believer in the lack of expectation and the perfunctory perfection of being surprised. If we don’t expect, we can only be surprised. There is truth in the saying still, but there is also the truth that removing expectations can steal blessings. 

Six of us sat around the table for the first time in forever and said thank you. The chair my dad once occupied was empty. I pushed it off to the side. I didn’t want to see, feel, or hear its void. 

My girls made the place cards. I reminded them repeatedly that we would be “doing things differently this year.” Different does not deliver, but it does distract. 

We made it through dinner well. The kids were ecstatic about the holiday plans. They were also old enough to notice the food and comment on the recipes, letting me know what was a keeper and a passer for next year. I ate it up, along with every buttered bite. 

Then came the moment after dinner and before dessert when we went from person to person and saluted those places, people, and circumstances for whom we were grateful. 

The kids were fabulous—laughing and reminding us that all the work that goes into this parenting thing is worth it. They see and hear, even if we think they are blind and deaf on most day 

My husband looked down the table at me. I was ready—joy-filled—but then, before I spoke a word, the tears came. Not over what I had lost but rather over what I had gained.

Suddenly, expectations did not seem like the villain I had portrayed for many years. I am grateful for what has been and terrifically ecstatic about what will be—beloveds around the table. Beloveds I will see again. That expectation does not disappoint. It heals. I smiled to myself. It is me, not my children, who often does not hear.

My mother lost two children who came and went too soon. She spent forty years waiting to see them again. Every one of those years, every trip to their grave, she said, “The day they went, heaven became sweeter.”

I didn’t listen until today. Mom’s sweetness came when her babies went home. Mine came when she and daddy went.

The stuff and the stuffing. They are all just decorations. The divine is starting to hold me. I catch my breath at the thought of it.

I am becoming grateful. I am learning expectations of heaven and Jesus are the grace with which we live and die—a grace-filled life packed with expectation.

What are your expectations? 

Tweetable: What are your expectations? 

Cathy is a writer, teacher, and entrepreneur. She met her husband Brian while studying in Paris, France. They make their home in Geneva, IL, with their four children and their daughter-in-love. She loves writing about the wonder and whimsy of life and her love for Jesus. Her first book is Destination: Fierce, Moving from Fear to Fierce. Learn more about Cathy at

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