My sister, only two years older than me, is expecting her first child in two months. It is kind of a big thing in our family, the first of my parents’ children to be having children. Some of our cousins have jumped off that ledge already and any time the family gathers together, their children become the center of attention. Watching my parents at those times, it is not hard to see how much they have been waiting for their own grandchildren.

My sister, Sommer, came up to the family house for Thanksgiving. It was my first time seeing her in her condition. She had a big round belly, not at all unattractive, and she rested her hands lightly on top the whole time she was there. I am not sure if that is a matter of convenience, a natural and comfortable resting place, or if she was doing it out of pride, hoping to draw attention to something considered wonderful and magical. Even if she wasn’t resting her hands there, even if she wasn’t growing large in the belly, it would be hard to mistake the fact she is pregnant. You can see it in her face. You can see it in her smile. She is expectant. She knows that after nine months she will have a baby girl.

I have seen the same look on the faces of hitters I used to pitch to and I have seen it in girls’ eyes when I am about to kiss them. Without a doubt, they know what is going to happen next. The hitters know they are going to take a good cut at my best fastball and knock it a country mile. And they do, not because I am a terrible pitcher, but because they are expectant. And the girls — well, perhaps I get this goofy look on my face that gives away my intentions, or maybe that look in their eyes is some kind of womanly magic power that forces us men to do their will, or perhaps they know that that moment is special, that at that moment something sweet and tender and hungry is going to happen and they are going to be a part of it and it is me who doesn’t want to miss out.

I heard a story recently about a man who loved golf. He wasn’t the best golfer, shooting a modest hundred strokes for eighteen holes. Then after almost a decade of not playing golf, this man was able to come out on his first day back and shoot a seventy- four. He took twenty-six strokes off his best score and he hadn’t even practiced. If you know anything about golf, this is unbelievable. If you don’t, take my word for it. How did he do it? Well, this man was also a soldier and when the Korean War came along he went over and fought. During the fighting, he was captured and kept prisoner in the smallest of cages, not even large enough to stretch out in. He knew that he had to do something to get himself through those long days of tortuous captivity and he did it by playing eighteen holes everyday on his favorite golf course. He imagined every step along the course, every swing, every blade of glass and those eighteen holes took the same amount of time in his head as they would have if he had actually been playing. When he was released from captivity he came home and shot his new best score, twenty-six strokes better than he ever had. He was expectant.

You see, being expectant, being certain that something is going to happen goes a long way to making it happen. If you walk down the street expecting people to move out of your way and walk around you, they will. It is this attitude in reverse that defeats so many people. You hear them say, “nothing good ever happens to me,” and it never does. It’s like self fulfilling prophecy, though it’s not prophecy at all.

It is a powerful thing I am talking about. It’s not voodoo magic or hocus pocus, it is faith. It is believing and then being expectant that what you have faith will happen, is going to happen. It means you have to conquer doubt, give it up at least. Imagine walking down the busy street expecting people to move out of your way and then suddenly you think to yourself, “What if this person doesn’t move out of the way, am I going to bump into them?” You know that awkward moment I’m talking about, the “which way are they moving?” Then suddenly there is that hesitation, that shuffling and you bump into them. People can see doubt, they can see expectancy and they respond accordingly.

Expectancy is a difficult thing to master. There are so many things I want to happen in my life, but I let the world persuade me to doubt, to fear and soon I forget my own words. Am I ever going to finish that novel? Am I ever going to meet the girl that makes me melt? Am I ever going to conquer that one addiction that brings me to my knees? It’s hard to be expectant if you are not sure of the outcome.

I find it helps if I have lists and write down the things I want to have happen. Then I utter a little prayer and then have faith, complete faith. I expect the things on my list will happen, that I will achieve them, and faith is funny like that — it is always rewarded.

© Seth Crossman