On Disappointments and the Joy of the Unexpected

We just returned from a vacation and while it was filled with lots and lots of fun moments and joyous times, there were disappointments that, unfortunately, put a damper on the latter part of the trip, leaving a stale taste in my mouth for the whole vacation. Why do I do that? Why do I let a few bad moments ruin the whole thing? I know it’s because I focused on the bad instead of the good? But why do I do that?

While I haven’t figured out the answer to that question, I have figured out why I was disappointed in the first place. Expectations!

Albeit, I think I had very few and reasonable expectations, but they were expectations none-the-less. My expectations were not met, and in the end I let it ruin a very nice vacation.

I am so grateful that I have hundreds of pictures to remind me of the dozens of joyous moments. And since it will take me at least a week to process them, I’ll have lots of time to recover and shift my perspective. I’m already giving thanks for it, but I’m waiting for my heart to catch up with my mind.

In the meantime, my vacation experience put another one in sharp contrast.

Before we left for our trip I was busy processing these photos. These are just a fraction of the “good ones” and every one of them delighted me. I kept saying over and over again, “I can’t believe how beautiful this is. I can’t believe I did this.”

And in hindsight, I understand why. I am at that point in my photomaking journey to be just a smidgen good, and yet I am not good enough to have expectations for my photos. In other words, I don’t expect my photos to be good, so when they are I am so surprised that I am filled with wonder and joy. It’s a very satisfying place to be.

I almost fear gaining a sharper eye for photography because I don’t want the wonder to disappear. I don’t want to expect to have great images and then be disappointed. I don’t want to reach the point where I see a flaw in an image and let it ruin my thoughts about the whole thing. I know my perfectionist tendencies can easily lead me there. I’ve fought too hard against that in other areas of my life that I don’t even want it to creep into my photography. I don’t want it to steal the joy. I don’t want it to take away the fun.

So, I’m letting each of these contrasting moments teach the other.

And I’m totally open for guidance on either one!

In hope,

Sweet Shot Day

Among a number of  ”wannabe” wishes, I would love to be a photographer. Not a pro. Just a decent amateur. This year
I’m am being more intentional about making that a reality. Linking up Darcy is one way to share my photomaking journey.


About Shelli Bourque

An ordinary girl living by the grace of life in Christ. Adoring wife and mom. Lover of quiet places and uncluttered spaces. Beauty seeker and image maker.


  1. Lovely rose shots! Very pretty.

  2. Susan says

    Oh I’m so sorry your vacation was disappointing. You truly did an incredible job with those gorgeous roses!

    I’m new to photograhy too. Still so much to learn.

    Hope you’re having a great day!

    • Thanks Susan. Glad to have a fellow newbie visiting here. I have much to learn, too. I’m finding that flowers pose so easily that they make a great subject for beginners like me. I really need to start work on photographing people. I find that very challenging. Your people pics are beautiful!

  3. Teena says

    I know exactly what you mean…..

    I have to really make a point to look at the positive.

    Much love

    • Thanks Teena. Yes, the positive and the Lord. He had a purpose in it. Perhaps reminding me that only He can satisfy my every expectation. And I’m reminded that I cannot expect others to give what they do not possess.


  4. I’m so sorry your vacation disappointed and that the bad parts tainted the good parts. It’s like your rose, isn’t it? The beauty of the petals/the poke of the thorns.

    I’d love to improve my photography…you inspire and make me think it’s possible, if I work at it. Thank you for that. I needed it.

    • Very insightful – the poke of the thorns made me pull back in pain for a bit, but I’m seeing the beauty of the petals once again.

  5. Absolutely gorgeous subject and captures of that subject! I like the 3rd one down the best – so soft, so pretty. (here via Sweet Shot Tues)

    • Thanks! It looks like #3 was the crowd favorite. 🙂

  6. emily says

    I LOVE these! So soft and lovely. 🙂

  7. I think you did a fine job with these. The 3rd one is my favorite!

  8. I can’t totally relate to the feeling of dashed expectations and having to fight from letting it take over and taint the entire experience! Praise God you are already giving thanks- your heart WILL catch up with your mind!

    • Thanks Natalie. The sting has passed and I see the lessons in it. I am grateful for that. God is good!

  9. I’m sorry your vacation was disappointing. Thank you for the reminder not to have high expectations though. I have been struggling with some things, that if I just let down my expectations, I will feel better: both as a mother and regarding a mission trip to India in Oct. I needed this!

    • Thanks, Shanda. The disappointment was a lesson I needed. I cannot expect people to give what they do not possess. Only God can fully satisfy and meet every expectation and only He can touch those in our lives who disappoint us. Praying for you that He works with your loved ones and your plans in a way that glorifies Him and grows you.