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Dealing with disappointment

Disappointment is a common theme in life. There’s never really a question of whether you’ll end up disappointed at some point, just questions of what causes it, how bad it is and how you deal with it.

Coffee didn’t turn out as good as you hoped? Either drink it without complaining or pour it out and start over.

Nothing good to watch on TV? Stick in a DVD or read a book or have a conversation with someone.

Things like that are easy to deal with and the motto “deal with it” applies well to most of life’s situations, in my opinion. That’s not a rude or hateful sentiment, it’s just reality. If I don’t deal with my disappointments in some constructive way, I’ll never learn from them and won’t be able to grow as a person.

What’s hard to “deal with” is when your disappointment comes from another person. Especially if it’s an individual you have liked, admired, trusted or loved.

I met a man a couple of years ago that I liked as a person. M was engaging, intelligent and friendly. We shared several interests and had a couple of great conversations.

Although we weren’t close friends I thought of him as a friend, and we had a few mutual friends. I only saw him a few times face-to-face but kept up with him online, especially as he hosted a weekly podcast that I enjoyed.

Last night I watched and listened to his podcast as I worked on some things on my computer. I sent comments on a few things and interacted with others watching. It was interesting and I found myself agreeing with most of the points the host made.

But I hadn’t been able to watch every week lately, and I noticed this was at least the second week with M broadcasting from a different locale, no longer from the studio in which he’d been hosting his show. I also noticed his three perpetual cohosts were not present, again. Nor were his two employees that typically popped their heads in during the show.

I wrote it off to a new format or vacations or whatever.

But one of those cohosts — J — is a friend of my wife. He messaged her after the podcast and asked her to have me contact him. I did.

What followed was a sad revelation of information about M and why the five aforementioned cohosts/employees were no longer there. J shared with me what he thought appropriate to share and how disappointed he was in the character M had displayed in relation to him, the other cohosts/employees, customers and intended recipients of charity benefits.

Much of what I was told was easily confirmed through other sources, so I know it’s not merely hearsay, or he-said/he-said.

J and the others were quickly hired by another business. They’ll be fine. But they’ve been close friends, they thought, with M for years. I’m disappointed to learn of these behaviors, but they are deeply hurt by someone they trusted as an employer and friend. Making matters worse is the fact that most of them attended the same church.

J didn’t ask me to stop being friends with M or anything like that. He wanted to warn me of his proven behavior. People can change, and that’s what the gospel of Jesus is all about — being changed by God. But left to ourselves, we tend to stay the same and get no better on our own.

Self help is no help at all, ultimately.

I hope these men can learn to forgive one another. It may never repair their friendships and they’ll never work together again. But forgiveness is still possible.

My heart hurts today over this for more reasons than I can express in a column. But with hope and forgiveness I believe we can all do what needs to be done. And that is to learn, to grow, to forgive, to move on.

That’s dealing with it.

Brett Campbell can be reached at brett.campbell@dailyleader.com.