Thursday, February 26, 2009

'Great Expectations'

‘Great Expectations’ is one of those novels that one is supposed to have read when at school, but if I did read it I cannot recollect doing so. Charles Dickens wrote of his contemporaneous conditions when social position due to inheritance and class fractured society. Snobbery, status and ignorance played their part. Back in the mid-nineteenth century there was little hope of any expectation of moving up the social ladder. Pip, the main character of the story was an orphan. He had a crush on Estella who was the adopted daughter of the wealthy Miss Havisham who hired Pip as a companion to Estella. Pip’s infatuation for Estella developed into a one-sided relationship of un-requited love, but Pip had high hopes that he may win her heart when he inherited money that enabled him to learn and acquire the ways of a gentleman.

Dickens wrote two endings to the novel; one gave little hope that Estella and Pip would ever be united in love, but the other hinted that there could be a glimmer of hope. Could that unsatisfactory situation ever have been yours; not necessarily the example of unrequited and unfulfilled love, but of expectations that were never realised? I would suggest that the common experience of us all is that we have expectations that are never realised, but without the hope of expectations we would lose much our motivation in life.

As a Christian I have a great hope and expectation that one day I’ll meet my Lord face to face and that I will be privileged to see Him and reflect His glory. On a lower plane I experience the everyday humdrum of activity just as those who have no expectation of Christ. On that same level I place my expectations of again owning a sailing boat, and to that end I have been searching for a suitable vessel, but you can’t imagine the lies and deceit I’ve encountered along the way. These same blatant deceptions of descriptions of craft for sale have led me to spend hours travelling by road with ‘Great Expectations’, only to find boats described as beautifully fitted, seaworthy and ready for sea, being nothing but leaking, stinking wrecks! The foolishness of advertising such vessels in glowing terms rebounds on the perpetrators; not only do they waste their time, but they callously cause disappointment to those who seek their ideal.

Despite my expectations being dashed over and again, I am a fool for yet another expectation that will be fulfilled to my satisfaction. What is it that drives me on in this way? The answer is that I have an unquenchable desire for a new relationship with a mistress of the sea.

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