Expectation Blindness

My younger son arrived here late Saturday night, bringing his kitten, Franklin, with him for a several day visit. Because he stayed up late Sunday night writing the final paper for one of his college courses, I didn’t expect to see him until very late in the morning. He left his bedroom door cracked so Franklin could come and go; shades were down and all that could be seen through the crack was a couple of roundish lumps under the blankets – no head or feet sticking out, just a big round lump and a smaller one under the covers.

Once noon came and went, and I was heating up leftovers for lunch, I asked my husband if we should wake Jared up. Dave’s advice: let him sleep. So I did, but I began to wonder if he might be coming down with something – and end of term virus that might explain why he was sleeping so soundly. The thought had barely come into my head when the kitchen door opened and Jared walked in. As a Mother’s Day surprise, he had driven to Kittery, Maine, to bring me dessert: Lovebird’s gluten free donuts. The lumps in the bed were just a couple of pillows.

Once I realized he wasn’t in the bed, it was quite obvious that the lumps under the cover weren’t even close to big enough to be an adult. Even though I had looked in a few times, I saw what I expected to see rather than what was there – I was surprised because I couldn’t see through what I expected to see.

It’s a funny story, but also a cautionary tale that asks a question of me: what other things remain unseen because I am blinded by my own expectations?

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I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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