Lament is not a word commonly used in Western culture. It has these days been replaced with such words as “depressed” or “anxious.” Lament is also not a word used often during the season of Advent. So, you might be asking, why write about lament during the first week of Advent?
I’d be happy to tell you why.
Hopefully, you have read the introduction to this series. If not, click here. In my own life, I have felt lately that I have been lamenting quite a bit of loss. This seems odd to me because I have not physically lost anyone or anything thing in my life. In fact, this year has been one of the best years of my life.
But why do I feel so sad?
I think it is because I have experienced unlamented loss. In other words, I am just now taking the time to lament things that I have lost long ago but have yet to fully let go of. As I am taking time to lament my losses, I am noticing that I am lamenting things that never even existed in the first place.
These are my expectations dying.
I have had to let many of my unrealistic expectations die, in order that I could begin to fully live a happy life. I have finally realized that to fully move into a new season of life, it is important to remove any unwanted expectations, memories or feelings, so you don’t carry them into the next year. However, letting go of things that meant a lot to us is much easier said than done. This is why taking time for lament is important.
Taking time to lament allows you to move on and regain your happiness.
In discussing sadness and grief, The Dali Lama says,
“The way through sadness and grief that comes from great loss is to use it as a motivation and to generate a deeper sense of purpose…I have told those who had lost their dear friend or family member, ‘It is very sad’ but this sadness should translate into more determination to fulfill their wishes. If the one you have lost could see you, and you are determined and full of hope…With the great sadness of the loss, one can live an even more meaningful life.”
What if we could accomplish both “a deeper sense of purpose” and “live a more meaningful life.” by taking the necessary time to lament our losses? It might sound unorthodox, but does it sounds any crazier than continuing to carry around our past hurts? Not to me. I feel any person that is willing to take inventory of their life can let go of anything that weighs them down is a healthy, aware individual. That is the type of person I know I can become. It is time for me to begin the process of seeing life with clearer expectations. I invite you if you are feeling the same as me, to use these next 4 weeks as practice in becoming the version you want to be going into next year.
This week, we will begin preparing for the Advent season by letting go of all of the major hurts we have been carrying for too long. Click here for the guided meditation for this week. May this time be the start of the healing process you have been seeking for so long.