I had elephant expectations for 2018.
I may have mentioned, once or a thousand times, 2017 was hard.
2018 would be different!
2018 would be awesome! Full of joy and ease and blessing and harmony. ELEPHANT EXPECTATIONS.
In the words of an infamous politician, It would be HUGE!
Life doesn’t break up neatly in calendar years.
January 1 doesn’t magically fix all the worlds ills.
But I think, all too often, we put our elephant expectations on these natural breaks. Once I start this new job. Once I get married. At the new year. In the new city. After I graduate.
I’m all about hope. And seeing the goodness in the future to come. But we can feel tremendously let down when weeks after the change or “new start” our elephant expectations didn’t come to fruition.
January kicked my ass.
Excuse my language, but I feel it’s important to communicate how hard it was.
Because of old piping in the back of our house we were greeted with poo shooting up our newly remodeled shower and toilets seeping on more than one occasion (it’s still not fixed!). We had the Icepocalypse which resulted in kids being trapped inside with a working momma for days. Lots of fighting and frustration and failed six week challenge promises.
The Icepocalypse was followed by the flu. The boys and I were all on Tamiflu as a result and I’m pretty sure Bray had it and just never went to get tested. Little bit was puny but the only one not utterly smashed.
And then, please sit down, the boys got LICE. I can’t talk about it. Don’t ask me. I can’t even process how this scourge came to roost on us again.
All this was roiling in my head on my drive up to the Hill Country to speak at a conference. It’s so quiet here. I’m up in the hills. On the water. The camp is surrounded by bare trees. Trees which will be lovely in the spring but which are uniquely beautiful right now, naked, in the winter. They might not see their beauty, but as I sat in a rocking chair listening to It is Well, I was undone by it:
So let go my soul, and trust in Him, the waves and wind still know His name. Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on you. And through it all, through it all, it is well.
Ahh, these elephant expectations.
They look to the leafy spring and miss the beauty in the cold of winter.
I curled up with the eldest and told him what pals we were when he was little. How we’d laugh and cuddle. So I started calling him pal and he beamed. BEAUTY.
I celebrated with the baby as he found out he was nominated for the PSIA creative writing competition for the 2nd grade. BEAUTY.
I really kissed my husband even though we were both sick and remembered why we fell in love. BEAUTY.
I laughed with little bit as we planned crafts for her 2nd grade friendship tea. BEAUTY.
I drove around the steep curves in the thick of the wooded hills to celebrate women leading well and ended up getting quiet time to reset my expectations. BEAUTY.
We can’t let our elephant expectation metrics get in the way of seeing the beauty in every single season.
We race through the winter trying to get to spring.
Oh, but how much beauty we will miss. And we won’t be ready for what the spring holds if we don’t let the winter do its work.