If you've lived some life, it doesn't take long to realize things don't always go as expected.
I remember being in middle school and trying out for the football team and thinking I had my spot in the bag. I grew up playing football and turned out to be a good player. But I had no idea during my middle school football tryout that I would get kneed in the groin during a drill and end up passing out. Spoiler alert: I didn't make the team.
When things don't go as expected, it can be disappointing. But I've also learned that unmet expectations don't have to be stumbling blocks. They can be stepping stones towards a more beautiful experience where your expectations are actually exceeded.
I recently heard a story from Claudia Rutz, a Car Window Poetry chapter leader in Charlotte (NC), about her expectations being exceeded in a greater way than she could've ever imagined. I met Claudia online after leading a Car Window Poetry workshop via Skype during a chapel at my old high school.
Claudia loved the heart behind Car Window Poetry and signed up to be a chapter leader in her community. As a Car Window Poetry chapter leader, you commit to leading one CWP activity per month. For National Poetry Month, Claudia pioneered a "Come Write a Poem & Grab a Donut" event at a park in Charlotte.
Claudia sent out 91 invites for the event on Facebook, and, the morning of, she saw that several people said they were going. But when Claudia, her husband, her daughter, and her daughter's friend set up shop for the event, none of the friends that Claudia invited showed up.
While it came as a disappointment, this is where the story gets really inspiring. Rather than giving up because no one showed, Claudia and her family stayed true to their commitment to do the right thing. Claudia thought, 'There are people in this park that need to hear about Car Window Poetry,' so her and her family reached out to people as they walked by and shared Car Window Poetry with them.
Although no one that Claudia invited showed up, because her and her family reached out to people walking by, they ended up leaving the park with 50 poems that morning that would be shared with others as a means of love and encouragement.
Claudia and her family left the park that morning with more joy than they could've ever imagined. I love this story because it serves as a reminder to me that joy doesn't just happen to us. Joy is something we choose. We're hardly in a position to control our circumstances, so it's important that we choose a joy that doesn't depend on the fragility of the situations we're in. It's something we can still have even when things don't go as planned.
To close, I wanted to leave you with Claudia's final words when sharing this story with our group of chapter leaders:
"Be kind, be genuine, share your heart and do not expect anything and you will receive abundance in return."
If you're interested in starting a Car Window Poetry chapter in your community or seeing if there's already one close to you, click this link!
Thanks so much for reading! If you have a cool Car Window Poetry story that you want to share, shoot us an email!