Saturdays with the Spirit: Expectations and Disappointment

There used to be this annual competition held at the reservoir called Kinetics.  Participants had to build a contraption to race over land and water.  The point wasn’t necessarily to go the fastest, but to be the most creative or look the most ridiculous.

Having lived in Boulder for several years, I was always curious about it and wanted to see. I convinced two or three friends to go check it out with me.  We waited in line, handed over our tickets, and went down to the water’s edge.

I was disappointed in what I saw.  Very few creations, some that were only rubber rafts that folks picked up and carried over the land parts of the course.  And few onlookers paying attention to the race anyway.  Rather, hundreds of people trying to act like it was an MTV beach party, and many far too liquored up for that to be attractive.  I don’t care if people want to drink, but I do care about unsafe drinking and the behavior that goes with it.  Let’s just say the event didn’t appear to be that family friendly.

My friends and I looked at each other, and I wanted to apologize for asking them to come to this with me.  Trying to make the most of it, we wandered over away from the crowds and dipped our feet in the water.  I caught a toad, which made me feel a little better.

Nearly every Thursday evening hundreds of people gather in a mob to ride randomly around town, dressed in silly costumes, bikes covered in lights, radios strapped to the handlebars blasting tunes.  They wave at pedestrians and call out “Happy Thursday”.  Many weeks they ride right by my front door as I live by a bike path.

A few weeks ago, I suddenly remembered it was Thursday and decided to try to find the group to see if I could join the ride.  I found the park where they start and sat on my bike at the fringes as the mass gathered.  And I waited for them to start.  And I waited some more.

I was again disappointed.  As I waited for half an hour after the unofficial “start” time, I saw most folks chug some beers.  Saw a number of others smoke a joint.  Really?  It wasn’t fun enough to ride around in the dark with costumes and lights laughing and waving at pedestrians?  Folks felt they needed to do it inebriated?  I wondered how many knew that biking after drinking can carry similar penalties as driving after drinking.

I sighed, waited, and finally they took off and I joined the pack.  We rode through town waving and having fun.  For twenty minutes.  Then they pulled over in a park to drink some more beer before continuing the two-hour-long ride.  Exasperated, I headed home.

This is not a post to rag on Boulder.  Everyone who knows me knows I love Boulder.  And I’ve found loads of fun stuff to do in Boulder that I’ve enjoyed.  These are just two bummer experiences I’ve had while living here. 

Both times I went expecting one thing, and left sad and disappointed. 

But as I reflected on both of them I thought about how often I expect things in this world to provide me with joy.  And don’t get me wrong, often they do!  God has created may incredible things in this world for us to enjoy. 

But this world is also fallen, and sinful, and not my home.  Trying to find fulfillment and complete joy in the things of this world is like trying to fill the Grand Canyon with silly putty.  My heart was created for bigger things.  Greater things.  I was created to be fulfilled by my amazing Creator.

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