Many years ago an older Christian woman said to me, 'Never expect anything from anyone and then you won't be disappointed.'
I'd just told her how my expectations had not been fulfilled so her comment was fair but it still left me feeling sad. So I carried on expecting and carried on being disappointed when I was let down.
A few months ago I stepped down from leading the women's bible study group in Zac's. I'd led it for the most part on my own for over three years and I'd given it all I could. The numbers were right down and I no longer looked forward to it or enjoyed it so I felt I wasn't going to be giving it my best and it wouldn't be fair on any of us. I discussed it with Sean and we agreed I'd step down.
Someone else offered to lead it for a period but last week it finished in its current format. Whether it will start again in some form or another is yet to be decided.
I wrote a FaceBook post explaining the reasoning, apologising and thanking everyone for their support. I meant everything I said and I didn't write it with the express hope of being thanked. That said I thought someone may thank me.
A long time ago I led a church writing group for very many years, keeping it going even when the church was in turmoil. When I eventually handed over the lead again I thought I might be thanked. I wasn't.
'Is it me?' I asked my young friend - who makes up in wisdom what she lacks in years - when we were walking last week. 'Is it God telling me I'm not humble enough and that I'm doing things for the wrong reasons?'
'Huh,' she said. 'I don't see God anywhere in that. Imagine if the situation were reversed; what would you or I do?'
'I'd like to think that I would say thank you to the person.'
That same evening I was in Zac's when the newly-release prison inmate was there. He came up to me and was beaming. He shook my hand. 'Thank you for coming into prison. The church service is the only light in a dark place. Thank you for your lovely smile.'
And I wasn't expecting it at all!