While I was up in northwest Kansas I had the chance to visit the "They Also Ran" Gallery, housed in the First State Bank of Norton, Kansas. You might have heard of this attraction; it makes the news as a byline every four years, after each Presidential election.
The idea was founded by the bank's President, with three thoughts of inspiration...
You can see the pictures I took below. The hall-of-fame style gallery includes portraits and short biographies of people whose names are familiar to most all of us: Mitt Romney, John McCain, John Kerry, Al Gore, etc. We can look back at each of these aspirants and wonder how America would be different if they had been elected. Worth noting among those in the gallery are the following...
Sometimes in life things don't go as we hoped or planned. We're left to move on in the face of disappointment. But I keep in mind a couple of things. First, these disappointments don't necessarily mean that there's something wrong with us. I was struck by the description of James M. Cox, who lost the election of 1920 to Warren Harding. He was the right man at the wrong time. He probably would've made a much better President than Harding, but the winds of the political season did not favor him.
A second thing is to learn to see the opportunity for blessing that comes with disappointment. I think of Jimmy Carter, who today is celebrated for being such an outstanding citizen. As someone put it, he's the only person in U.S. history who used the Presidency as a stepping-stone to bigger a better things. I think of my various experiences where the Lord closed doors and I felt disappointment, only to see something better emerge. It's all in the hand of providence.
And most importantly I think of Jesus. His crucifixion was a disappointment to His early followers, but from it came atonement, resurrection, ascension, and the hope of eternal life. Disappointment takes on new meaning when you learn to see it through the lens of the cross and the Easter resurrection.