Peace out 2017. I am done with you. 2017 was not what I anticipated, what I hoped for or what I imagined. It was a year of transition, tears, weight gain and struggle. I thought 2015 was a tough year for me, but 2017 served up its own variety of tough. I did not anticipate this, nor did I see it coming. This blog is not intended to elicit a ‘poor Stacie’ response, this blog is an honest and healing lamentation.
Lament: sorrow expressed at the unjust contraction between something intended (or promised) and something experienced
And do you know what happens if we do not lament or express our sorrow? We have guilt and we live in denial. Guess what? I have NO guilt and I am quite far from denial. In fact, when there appears to be a minor amount of denial in my vicinity, I call it out. So much so that I am sure I have offended any number of people in 2017.
If you know me, you know I am an introvert to the core, regardless of what my outwardly gregarious posture may lead you to believe. I am not great at transitions, but really good in an emergency. Unfortunately, what that means is that I plow through change without dealing with the resentment, fear and sorrow that builds up as it happens. I just make it (whatever it is at the time) happen. But then my introversion leads me to be alone and instead of being able to recharge and refuel in that moment, I lament. And boy have I lamented this year.
2017 started with selling a beautiful home that I had intended (there’s that word) to live in for a very long time. The plan to sell that house was a good one, and the family it was ultimately intended for is overjoyed. However, the selling of the house was a contradiction to what I had intended and was something that I did not expect to experience.
I had intended for my life to be a certain way. When that did not happen, I picked myself up and took the path that seemed like the one that was intended for me; single working mother of two awesome teenagers. I had clarity. As 2017 continued it was clear that I had no clarity and that my intention was not my experience. I experienced challenges, changes, road blocks, inauthentic behavior and a busyness that was beyond me. Again, my experience in 2017 continued to be incongruent with my intentions. And my lament continued.
What is challenging about being in a period of lament is that those around you have a hard time understanding. From the day my mother died, I have worn the belief that you simply cannot ever understand what another person is going through until you have walked in their shoes. And, we will NEVER walk in anyone else’s shoes. We each grew up differently, had different experiences, were taught different things, so the notion of being able to ‘understand’ what someone else is going through is ludicrous. Truly.
In 2017 we lived in three different locations, packed and repacked a number of times, lived in the tension of transition, fought through a massive plumbing issue, as well as a dog fight, scheduled and rescheduled appointments, repairs, and emotionally struggled. In a period of lament, what soothes a heart is vulnerability and authenticity. I confess that my heart was seeking that out for the vast majority of 2017, and when I didn’t find it or questioned it, I lashed out. Apologies to all who were on the other side of that lashing, it was my vulnerable self, seeking authenticity.
So I end 2017 with clouded clarity. I made it through, I feel no guilt or denial. I am not fooling myself into believing that life can be seen best through rose colored glasses. I actually think that decreases the clarity of your view of life. So what is my clarity for 2018? Change is inevitable and as soon as we settle in and think we have clarity something changes and we are left wondering what we missed. And what we missed was the ability to just hope, to not focus on the muck and daily challenges of life, to not let life wear us down, to not expect but to be humbly encouraged and to be careful of your belief and stake in a plan. Planning creates intention and when we experience something different than we intended we are again in the lamenting phase. What a circle. But I am planner, so plan, but don’t live and die by that plan. In a church in Idaho I heard a phrase that has repeated in my head, over and over, like a beautiful reminder of the way we should float through life. Yes, float. God does not intend for us to be burdened, heavy, sad, overwhelmed or any of the other emotions that drag us under. But he also does not intend for us to live our life with clarity, the type of human clarity that we all think we need and that we all want. That clarity would defeat our need and desire for Him. He intends for us to focus on Him and our relationship with Him, that is it. That sweet Idaho pastor said the most amazing words, “People gaze at their problems and glance at God. This is incongruent to His plan.”
Lament is the incongruence of our intention in alignment with our experience. But WE create incongruence by gazing long and hard at our problems and situation and glancing momentarily at God. Gazing at God moved me through this year, taught me to lament and created some humorous resilience in my heart. I’m still affected, but not beat down. I still lament, but refuse to wallow. So bring on 2018, it’s going to be an unexpected masterpiece.