Unmet Expectations and Unfinished Stories

Today, I know for a fact my life is part of a story. And right now I’m in the middle of the conflict. The part of the story where the character is slipping, losing sight of their goals and even who they are, all because of some problem, or, in my case, some unmet expectations. For you see that once upon a time….

…not so very long ago…

…this morning, in fact, I set out for a remote beach resort south of Dar es Salaam. I had my sunscreen, my towel, water, and a book, and was eagerly expecting a quiet, relaxing day on the beach with friends.

Didn’t happen.

At all.

Somewhere between the ferry leaving Dar es Salaam and my arrival at the beach resort, 30+ kilometers away, my very large handful of keys fell out of the ignition of my motorcycle. I have no idea how it happened. For one, I didn’t know that one could remove the key from the ignition while in the “on” position. Apparently it is possible. Because my motorcycle is still “on,” though no keys are to be found. The missing keys included two house keys, three gate keys, the motorcycle key, and the key for the box on my motorcycle. Seven keys, two carabiners, and the short end of an Indianapolis Colts lanyard. They should have been easy to find.

Not true.

At all.

Instead of enjoying a nice, relaxing day on the beach with friends, I spent all day looking for said keys. All day. 13 hours, in fact. I drove between Kigamboni and Kimbiji four different times at only 10-15 km/hour, stopping to ask nearly everyone I saw if they had seen my keys, and if they turned up, to call me. There were no keys to be found. So eventually, I turned back to go home.

But that wasn’t easy either.

At all.

After stopping by the beach resort to say hi to my friends for only fifteen minutes, I returned to my bike to find the battery completely drained (remember the ignition is still in the “on” position). When I went to use my multitool to remove the seat to access the battery, the pliers on my tool snapped in two, the result being that a fundi had to come from the nearby village to remove the seat. Eventually, the bike was running, and I was on my way. Until I got to the ferry. While waiting for the ferry to arrive, I switched my bike off. For five minutes. When I went to re-start it, it was once again dead. So I pushed the bike onto the ferry, and then up the hill off of the ferry to the nearest fundi so they could jump my bike. It should have been simple and quick.

Not true.

At all.

After sitting for over four hours while a group of about ten guys worked on my bike, I gave up. They had been able to start my bike several times, but, for some unknown reason, it would no longer continue running. Maybe a spark plug issue. Maybe a bad fuel issue (which is very possible since I didn’t have a choice of where to get fuel while driving endlessly in the search for my keys). Maybe something else. They didn’t really know, and it was dark, and I was downtown, alone, at night. I was done. I asked them to find a pickup truck that could take me and my bike to my nearest friend’s house. Going all the way to my house would be outrageously expensive, and I knew that I could always ride my bicycle down to my friend’s house in order to work on my bike. E

Eventually, I made it home. My neighbors had a spare key for my house, so I could get in. There was food in the fridge, so I could eat for the first time since breakfast. I still haven’t found dog food (the entire city of Dar seems to be out at the moment), so Amini is relegated to rice. I’m exhausted, sunburnt, and angry.

But I did learn a few things today.

1. I’m really glad that I’m saved by grace. In talking with a friend about this situation, I mentioned that all I wanted to do was scream the F-bomb and punch something. Hard. His response included some comment about it all being fine, and that I could go back to being good tomorrow. Yep, I was the one who needed to be punched. In the face. Its not about being good. And thank goodness for that. If it was about being good, I would fail epically. Especially on days like today.

2. Amidst all my prayers that God would please help me find my keys, I was certainly questioning how God could possibly be in control over this situation. It made me realize that when life gets rough, my true heart beliefs come out. Like how I’m not really confident that yes, God does have this situation in His hands, or that yes, He does have a plan. Because I don’t get this plan. And I certainly don’t like it. Even though I know He is in control and He is good.

3. The end of the day is not always the end of the story. Because God is in control and He is good, I can be confident (even though I don’t really feel like it) that this is all a part of His plan. Maybe this is the part in the story where the character is in freefall…and goes off the deep end. Or maybe its the part of the story where God waltzes into plain site and shows His hand in the impossible. Or maybe its just the part of the story where the character has to remember that she is just that, a character. Not the author.

4. Unmet expectations are bitter. Maybe if I had just been out for a drive when all of this happened, it wouldn’t have made me quite so angry. But I was looking forward to a wonderful day at the beach and dinner with friends afterwards. None of which happened. And so I got angry.

5. Sometimes, you just need to go to bed, and remember that “His mercies are new every morning” (I swear this is my theme verse for the year… it comes up on at least a weekly basis…).

6. This is #reallife. Like it or not.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Karen says:

    Hi,
    We are considering a move to Dar. Have tried to contact HOPAC by email and phone with no success (realize we are now into a holiday weekend.) If you would be willing to answer a couple of questions, please email.
    Thank you so much!

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