Swallowing the Disappointment Pill

I still can’t believe I am typing these words.  I am not going to climb Kilimanjaro next week.  I should be over the moon that in less than 48 hours I would have been making my way over the Atlantic Ocean heading towards Tanzania.   Not any more.  Last Saturday I was well on my way to completing my final training hike on Grandfather Mountain when I slipped (on a flat and easy part of the trail, to add insult to injury) and sprained my ankle.  Sprained all three ligaments – 6 week recovery time.  Yep.  I did that.  One week out from a trip I have been planning for about a year and training for the last 6 months.  Words do not adequately describe the feelings I have experienced the past 5 days.  Shock.  Embarrassment.  Chagrin.  Discomfort. Heartbreak.  Disappointment.

Everyone has been so kind to me this week.  Thank you for all of the acts of kindness, injections of humor into this infuriating turn of events, prayers, and encouragement.  That has kept me from sinking into a pool of depression or wallowing in self-pity.  It has made swallowing the disappointment pill so much easier.  I am grateful for the reminder that we share life together and with that is the opportunity for others to celebrate our joys as well as join in our laments.  And there is comfort in that.  I think I had forgotten this truth.  Or hadn’t had community to share significant life events with. (As a District Superintendent you are not surrounded  by a community like you are while pastoring a church.)

The bad news – I have trained and dreamed and planned almost everyday for 6 months all for naught.  I have spent a bunch of money preparing for this trip.  My ankle doesn’t feel so good.  My heart is broken over not getting to experience this adventure that I was ready for and that was within my grasp.

Bum ankle with all of my Kili equipment waiting to be packed in the background.

The good news – My ankle is not broken and will heal.  My trip was insured so I can get reimbursed and reschedule for another day.  I am in the best shape of my life and it looks like I will get to do that all over again next year! I have two weeks of unexpected vacation to figure out what to do with. (Although that is kind of stressful for someone like me who has a hard time unplugging unless I am away doing something fun/cool.)

So when I consider the big picture – I’ll get over it.  And there are far worse things that other people are dealing with.  Hurricane Harvey’s destruction of homes and lives, cancer diagnosis, terminal illness, fear of not being able to make next month’s rent, I could go on.

But that disappointment pill still tastes pretty darn bad.  And we’ve all had to swallow it at one point or another.  I know I will learn some amazing lessons from this experience.  I know I will climb Kili one day.  (I am sorry some of you are going to have to listen to me talk about it again next year!) But I will do it when I’m 100% ready and can enjoy the experience, not worry about every step I take.  I know I will now have some quality time with my husband who was not going to Tanzania with me anyway.

While I lick my wounds and make an alternative vacation plan I will remember the following Psalm.  I’m not quite 100% there but I’m working on it.  I may be elevating and icing my ankle now, but before long I’ll be running and dancing again with my usual joy. Maybe these words will speak to your heart if you, too, are having to swallow a disappointment pill in your own life these days.

I give you all the credit God. You got me out of that mess, you didn’t let my foes gloat.

God, my God, I yelled for help and you put me together.

God, you pulled me out of the grave,  gave me another chance at life

when I was down-and-out.

All you saints! Sing your hearts out to God!  Thank him to his face!

He gets angry once in a while, but across a lifetime there is only love.

The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter.

When things were going great I crowed, “I’ve got it made.

I’m God’s favorite.  He made me king of the mountain.”

Then you looked the other way and I fell to pieces.

I called out to you, God;  I laid my case before you:

“Can you sell me for a profit when I’m dead? Auction me off at a cemetery yard sale?

When I’m ‘dust to dust’ my songs and stories of you won’t sell.

So listen! and be kind!  Help me out of this!”

You did it: you changed wild lament into whirling dance;

You ripped off my black mourning band and decked me with wildflowers.

I’m about to burst with song;  I can’t keep quiet about you.

God, my God,  I can’t thank you enough.

-Psalm 30 (The Message)

Grace and Peace,

Lory Beth

11 thoughts on “Swallowing the Disappointment Pill

  1. So sorry about you ankle and the disappointment you face. Praying for your healing… spiritually and physically.
    Becky Bingham


  2. Lory Beth, you don’t know me but I’ve been a member of Centenary over 60 yrs. and after moving from Winston-Salem to go to college, listened to our service on WSJS until live streaming began ….. it is extremely rare that I miss an 11:00 service. You even made me feel honored not too long ago when you read an e-mail I had sent during the “Heaven” series.

    When you agreed to become our senior minister and I read your biography, I couldn’t believe how much we have in common …. UNC, science, cats (I have 3), music etc. …. and I have loved having you in my church ever since you arrived! You and the wonderful staff have been responsible for so many positive changes.

    With your love of running, I’m sure you know Pat Stoeber as she has had the same love for about a decade. Pat lives a few houses up the street from where my family lived until I had to sell the house after Mother died (2008). Pat sang at Mother’s funeral in Centenary. Just this week, I got the Windows and saw the picture of Pat greeting members and read the article Jeremy wrote. I had no idea she was so active in the community. I love seeing her in the congregation and you in the pulpit “feeling” the music.

    But I digress …………… I just had to reply to your latest blog to tell you how very, very sorry I am that your Kili. plans have been put on hold. After you said in your sermon last week that you had tweaked your ankle, I have been praying that the ice and elevation would fix it. It’s a pretty fat and ugly ankle …. you did a little more than just a little tweak! I truly believe that God loves you and, even though we don’t know why, things do happen for a reason. You could be with my sister in Houston with all the terrible devastation which will go on for years (she’s fine, high and dry).

    Know I am thinking of you and knowing you will recover both physically and mentally. You’ll make it next year! Best wishes and love,

    Caroline Marr


    1. Thank you Caroline, for taking the time to respond and share your thoughts. I laughed at the “feeling” the music comment. I forget about live stream yet know the camera angles switch around. The music is my time to worship since I can just listen and enjoy. And I do feel it! Also love Pat! She rocks and I want to be like her when I grow up!!!

      I deeply appreciate your prayers and encouragement. And I will pray for your sister and all the people in her life that have been hurt from this Hurricane.



  3. Lory Beth…..so very sorry for you that you can’t make the trip……there will be another one in your future! You have worked so hard to make this happen but it will happen again. In the mean time enjoy your weeks of rest and relaxation….. we are so very blessed to have you at Centenary……see you at EGOHR real soon!
    Love and Big Hugs,


    1. Thanks Beverly. I really appreciate that. Yep, I hope Pam didn’t have any adventures likes this on her vacation! =) I will be thinking about Mo as well wherever I end up during these next two weeks.



  4. Lory Beth, I join with the others to say how sorry I am to learn you cannot go on the trip and climb that awesome mountain! You will do this again I am certain, and will enjoy it perhaps even more. In the meantime, you and Greg enjoy your vacation and rest and relax! Andy and I think you are such a shining light to us at Centenary!

    Judy Reed


  5. So sorry that your plans did not work out. Next year will be a better time. I hope you and Greg have a great vacation just enjoying each other…I know your work commitments sometime take too much of your time a way Greg and family.


  6. Lory Beth, We missed last Sunday, so your blog was the first we were aware of your missing your long awaited mountain climb. I can’t think of a more dastardly consequence of a sprained ankle than what you’ve experienced after being on the cusp of your great adventure. Your ankle may be healed before your psyche on this one! Fortunately, you have the support of God, family and your faith community to aid in the healing process. It’s our privilege to be a small part of supporting you with our prayers and words of comfort. We admire you taking on challenges and your transparency with things go well and when they don’t. We look forward to celebrating your climb when you’re ready again. All haste in healing.
    Mike and Sandee


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