I’ve officially entered the 21st year of my life. New Year’s Eve has always been a low-key affair for me. I guess I was always drowning in the reflections of the previous year and the high expectations and resolution for the coming one to ever be distracted by sparking grape juice and a ball of LED lights sliding 10 feet down a pole in a city that has never held much allure for me.
If you don’t believe me, I almost missed the ball drop this year. And what was I doing? Trying to peel the stupid gold foil off another bottle of sparking grape juice. (Come on packaging company, there’s already a seal. Why do you put the gold foil on there? Is it necessary? WHY?!) Anyway, I had about 10 seconds of warning thanks to the TV that started screaming at me.
I welcomed the new year with four other people: my boyfriend, my best friend from high school, her boyfriend, and my little 11-year-old brother. I also got a kiss on the cheek at 12:00:02. And voila! 2016 appeared.
My 1st year of life entered with me screaming and my 21st started with a kiss. I’d say I’m getting better at this life thing. Perhaps it’s my reflective ways and how diligently I complete my resolutions (…haha…yeah…I couldn’t even type that with a straight face).
But in all honesty, I am quite reflective at the transition between years. And I always start with the negative things. Maybe I think I can just get them out of the way, I don’t know. At church yesterday, I heard a sermon that I greatly appreciated and that fit the atmosphere of my thoughts. I spent an hour listening to the necessity of lamentations.
Before I lose you and you click to another, more exciting, more positive blog, hear me out: there is nothing more important in the world than learning how to handle your emotions. Why? Because everyone has strong emotions — both positive and negative — and everyone will need to deal with them at some point.
No one needed to teach you how to lament because it is a natural part of the fabric of a world that is broken. To be human is to lament.
This comes naturally. Grief is sprinkled with laments like cheese on a pizza, like sprinkles on a cupcake, like cinnamon on the whip cream of a Starbucks latte…you get my point. And you can grieve anything! You can grieve the brokenness of a friendship, the miscommunication in a relationship, the inevitable growth into adulthood and loss of childhood innocence, the failure to make the grade, the death of a fuzzy, four-legged friend, the shattering of expectations. The list goes on and no. Unfortunately, our lives will always be punctuated with grief.
And yet, my pastor goes on to say this:
Here is something that is very counter intuitive: lament and despair are complete opposites. Despair is the ultimate manifestation of unbelief and a denial that God exists, while lament is one of the deepest and most costly demonstrations of belief in God.
If, in your despair, you refuse to talk to God, you are killing the one thing that might save you: communication. Think about it in the context of marriage counseling. If a couple isn’t talking, that’s a major red flag. They don’t care anymore. There’s no more effort. The silence is worse than if they were fighting. And you know why?
Because talking can show you where the trouble areas are, what you care enough to argue about, and that you are still willing to put in effort. Messy talking is still good. Messy talking will still get you somewhere.
The stagnancy will kill you. Scientifically, if something is not growing or evolving, then it is moving towards death and decay. Grief is only poisonous when it stands still.
Lament is where you go while in pain with the faith-filled belief that one day God will bring resolution to all of this. Lament is where you live or (better) how you live when your life doesn’t end like a Hallmark movie.
The Hallmark channel is simultaneously my favorite and most hated channel. I love it because things will always go right and the happy ending will always come — in this life, I like seeing the possibility of that good thing actually happening. However, I want to go through and strangle each and every character because I know that life doesn’t actually happen like that! It doesn’t! I don’t care how many attractive, sweet, thoughtful guys in the movie offer the girl a cup of coffee and understand all of her dreams and longings and endure with her despite the obstacles — it won’t happen.
(Y’all know I’m right).
But just because the end isn’t easy or pretty or all tied up with a bow, doesn’t mean that the end won’t come. That’s the thing about lament; the resolution will always come.
So maybe 2016 will turn out to be great. Maybe it won’t. I’m fine as long as it doesn’t turn into a repeat of 2014 (that year was a pain, in more ways than one). I’m okay with another 2015 — but then I have to worry about that cesspool stagnancy.
I guess no matter what 2016 brings, I welcome it with open arms. Hello, old friend, new year.
This is the link where I took the block quotes: http://www.yourchurch.com/sermon/questioning-under-the-clouds-has-his-steadfast-love-ceased-forever/