My brain was sleep-fogged. I was awakened by voices in my bedroom.
A text message kept repeating: “Roomba is stuck near a cliff.” It made no sense.
A woman’s voice, coming from my phone, explained the Roomba needed help.
I heard John yelling, “Go away. Go back home. Get out of here.”
I was really confused.
“What’s going on? What’re you doing?”
“It’s in here. And I think it’s stuck under the bed.”
We’ve no pets, certainly not one with the ability to talk.
“The Roomba. It got in here somehow and it’s stuck and won’t go home.”
I couldn’t stop laughing. Poor thing must have felt like it was falling off a cliff; it had nowhere to go.
Our kids gave us an iRobot Roomba for Christmas, which roams the house and picks up dirt and any miscellaneous objects it can suck into its little vacuum mouth. My daughter had finally hooked it up for us, and it worked for several weeks before it got lost in the house trying to find its way to its home base.
Last time, however, we’d left our bedroom door closed because we’d had a houseful of guests. In the heat of our extended summer, we now leave it open to get air.
And unwanted visitors.
We’ve named our little robot vacuum Sugar. A reflection of the sweet gift it was to us and of our appreciation of the job it does. That wasn’t the name I was thinking of that night, though the one that crossed my mind also started with an S.
Neither of us fell back asleep quickly. Both of us woke with lack-of-sleep headaches. Both of us broke into laughter, however, when we talked through the bizarre incident the next morning.
Expectations are funny. I set my mind on certain things–and people–acting a particular way because it’s how I’ve known them to be. What my experience with them tells me is real.
When people or circumstances don’t match up to what I’d expected, I’m usually disappointed. I can excuse my little vacuum–it was doing what it was programmed to do. I can excuse circumstances that don’t measure up to my assumptions because I can’t control all that happens around me.
When people disappoint me, however, I get bent out of shape. I take their response to me personally, which may not be who they really are. They’re acting out of a stress response because their needs aren’t being met. Their lives may be out of kilter.
Just like mine can become.
People will always disappoint us. We’re not perfect. If I’m looking for a constant loving acceptance of who I am, I’ll only find it in Jesus. Everyone else will let me down.
I disappoint myself.
Acknowledging our stories and giving people the benefit of the doubt is how I should respond to the messy people we all are.
Not messes my robot vacuum can clean up.