There are a lot of different ways that I could go about writing this post. So many that it’s a little overwhelming. I spent some time trying to figure out the most efficient AND comprehensive way to reflect on 2019, but found that all my answers to the thoughtful questions that the internet provided felt stiff and forced. So instead, I pulled out my journal and just made a list of what came to my mind when I thought about 2019. That is (more and less) what I will be sharing here. It’s long. It’s very long. 


A word for 2019-

DISORIENTING.

Not the worst year of my life,

Because what could be worse

Than being fourteen years old?

But seriously

DISORIENTING.

 

Made of so many bits and pieces-

How does one string them all together?

Do they even belong on the same strand?

I’m still trying to figure out what goes where,

And where the patterns appear.

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Some patterns are there.

Pursuit is a serious weakness of mine.

I’m great at doing a lot of work without accomplishing anything.

(This is not a good thing,

In case you are wondering.)

FOMO (fear of missing out) is a huge factor in how difficult I find it to make any kind of decision.

If I choose one thing, I sacrifice another thing,

And

I WANT IT ALL.

I actually do.

I want the babies and the career and the education.

I want Toronto and I want to live close to my family again.

I want tradition and I want to start fresh.

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2019

Had a lot of decisions in it.

 

I don’t think I made a single one of them.

I’m serious.

Not any of the big ones.

I did choose to paint our living room white,

Even though it was already a

Pretty nice green.

This was

ABSOLUTELY

The right choice.

 

I just about went crazy

With the decisions bubbling and brewing constantly inside me.

I’m still trying to figure out how to

Thoughtfully consider a decision

Without becoming consumed by it.

 

How do you make a big decision

When you feel like you’re up against a wall-

You feel like you simply cannot choose?

How do you do it?

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I wrote half of a play again this year,

With my dear friend

Meghan.

I struggled.

By struggled, I mean that

Every sentence

Had to be dragged

Kicking and screaming

From the trenches and mines

Of my heart and my soul,

And that might sound artsy and poetic,

But let me tell you-

The trenches and mines inside me

Seemed to be bent on producing

More lumps of coal

Than gold.

I had a mass of ideas, emotions, and truths inside me,

And NOTHING fit together

No matter how many index cards and charts I wrote.

I produced writing that was

Too much

In some places

And

Not enough

In other places.

At the end of it all,

I had to complete and release a creative project

That I had not yet started to fully love.

The love might come later.

I’m hopeful.

And scared.

I pray to be humble enough to watch the play in the spring without comparing and cringing,

And humble enough to try again in the future.

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In the fall, I job-searched.

I went to several interviews

Without getting the job.

Let’s just say that

I took it personally.

(Even though I knew I shouldn’t.)

One place had me come for a trial shift.

And then they asked me to come for a second trial shift.

And then I never heard from them again.

This bothered me a lot.

But also, both times that I was there,

I felt absolutely sick with anxiety even after I left.

I’m think I’m thankful it didn’t work out.

But I’m also sad,

Because they had the best croissants

And because

I don’t know what I did wrong.

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My faith has changed.

I don’t know of how else to say it.

I think about the Bible differently than I used to.

A friend asked me to expound on that statement,

And I floundered.

I realized later that I literally didn’t have the language to explain what I might be starting to believe now.

I’m learning a new language, and some authors like

Science Mike and Rachel Held Evans

Are helping me.

“The Bible isn’t an answer book. It isn’t a self-help manual. It isn’t a flat, perspicuous list of rules and regulations that we can interpret objectively and apply unilaterally to our lives. The Bible is a sacred collection of letters and laws, poetry and proverbs, philosophy and prophecies, written and assembled over thousands of years in cultures and contexts very different from our own, that tells the complex, ever-unfolding story of God’s interaction with humanity. When we turn the Bible into an adjective and stick it in front of another loaded word (like manhood, womanhood, politics, economics, marriage, and even equality), we tend to ignore or downplay the parts of the Bible that don’t fit our tastes. In an attempt to simplify, we try to force the Bible’s cacophony of voices into a single tone, to turn a complicated and at times troubling holy text into a list of bullet points we can put in a manifesto or creed. More often than not, we end up more committed to what we want the Bible to say than what it actually says.”
― Rachel Held Evans, A Year of Biblical Womanhood

One thing that has been hard this year

Is that I have been feeling like

I want God to speak to me,

And so I ask Him to,

But He doesn’t.

Sometimes He does, I guess.

There have been moments

Where I know He is giving me

His presence.

But mostly,

I struggle to feel Him.

And I just wonder

Why-

If I want to feel Him,

I can’t

?

I still wholeheartedly believe He is there and watching and loving,

In case you are wondering.

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2019 has been a weird year for my body too.

For the past couple years,

I have struggled with some acid reflux issues.

It seemed to come and go,

But was becoming more consistent this year.

I grew frustrated with feeling yucky so much of the time,

And made a bold move-

Gave up meat, sugar, dairy, and gluten for ten days

To see if it made me feel better.

The good news is,

I felt GREAT.

The bad news is,

WHO WANTS TO GIVE UP ALL THAT DELICIOUS STUFF?

Not I,

As evidenced

By the battle of acceptance and self-discipline that ensued.

I’m still trying to figure this all out.

I’m learning to be grateful for all the delicious food that I can eat that does make me feel good.

I’m trying to want to learn to just say no to the things that make me feel sick,

Rather than using special occasions as an excuse to consume those things anyways.

Because eating something that you KNOW is going to make you feel sick?

That sounds like a mentally unhealthy place to be, to me.

The good news is that

I lost twenty or so pounds

(what with all this healthy eating),

And actually started to like the way I look,

Which is a new one for me.

The bad news is that

My clothes all fit funny

And I still don’t know what size I should be wearing.

But NOT COMPLAINING.

 

 

In 2019, I learned that

it is good to let myself feel hungry sometimes.

Not every desire needs to be satisfied immediately.

I’m pretty used to getting myself what I want when I want it.

Instead of following through on every impulse,

I am going to try letting them guide me to what I am truly hungry for.

(I’m not talking about just food here, anymore.

What I eat, yes, but also

How I spend money,

How I spend time,

And my emotions and reactions.)

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In 2019, I found out that I am self-disciplined enough

To give up some things entirely,

(social media and gluten, to name two things)

But not self-disciplined enough to do well with enjoying these things in moderation.

I do not

UNDERSTAND.

What makes me

This way?

 

 

2019 has brought me out of my little Mennonite community more than any other year.

I’m struggling to find

My place in the world.

I am feeling like I actually was brought up in a different world

Than “non-Mennonites”.

The differences sometimes feel big,

And I just don’t know how to offer myself

And the good things that my upbringing has instilled in me.

It feels like there are a lot of

Loud,

Opinionated,

Entitled,

Sensitive,

Disgruntled,

Selfish,

Negative,

Disrespectful

People out there.

NOT EVERYONE IS LIKE THIS, AND NOT EVERYONE IS ALL THESE THINGS, AND MENNONITES CAN BE THESE THINGS TOO. I am not trying to be judgmental.

These are some attitudes that I have come across.

I’m just saying,

I feel like I come from a place where

Peace

Respect

Listening

Positivity (or at least not blatant complaining)

Selflessness

If-you’re-upset-internalize-it (this isn’t necessarily good- just a contrast I see)

And general meekness

Are valued,

And I honestly don’t how to offer these

generally gentle gifts

In a

generally loud world.

I think that is what I am saying.

I do know that the answer is not to just

Stay in my comfortable circle.

 

 

I think that’s quite enough

Looking back.

 

Looking ahead…

 

Someone asked me recently what

I do for fun.

It reminded me that I’m not good at

Doing stuff-

Even when it’s stuff that I like.

In 2020, I want to choose to

Do stuff.

I want to mail letters.

I want to make wise, thoughtful life decisions,

And be gracious enough to let go of the things it’s time to let go of.

I want to read

And write

And take pictures.

I want to keep asking God to speak to me.

 

To start 2020 out,

I am wearing owl socks from Grandma Schrock,

And just feeling really good about it.

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I am also doing some things that I didn’t have time to do in December,

But really wanted to do.

Like making an orange garland.

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I am also going to be making some January cookies at some point.

I am glad that I am giving myself permission to do these things

Even though Christmas is over.

Thank you, Self.

 

This is my favourite picture of myself from 2019:

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A shadow,

Small and blurry at the edges.

That’s me.

Dancing

And still in the light.

14 thoughts on “2019 Recap

  1. This is beautiful, and heartwrenching, and delightfully nostalgic and hopeful and real. All at once. I especially resonated with you decision-making thoughts. How to make wise, gracious decisions without being consumed by them. The feeling of missing out, whichever decision I do make. I’m excited to hear more. Coffee date? 😁

  2. “In 2019, I found out that I am self-disciplined enough
    To give up some things entirely,
    (social media and gluten, to name two things)
    But not self-disciplined enough to do well with enjoying these things in moderation.”
    That’s exactly how I am! I can completely give things up (instagram and desserts for me), but I can’t enjoy them only in moderation. When I have a little, i want a lot. Why are we that way? If you figure it out, let me know…

  3. Thanks for this post Jasmine…. your comments on reaching out struck me. Keep reaching. Sometimes the contrast of that quiet peaceable Mennonite life that you were talking about, speaks louder then the loudness all around. There is a power there, that can draw other people…. the genuine love, the very willingness to be different from the world…. Just shine for God and don’t worry about trying to be like the world in order to reach the world.

  4. Oh, Jasmine, you have just inspired me to go write my own post, to “actually do it” as you say and not just think about it, plan it in my head, and allow it to get stuffed in a corner some where. That whole discipline thing is so interesting. I, too, waffle between getting lots done and getting stressed and wound tight OR completely letting go and not bothering to wash my hair. I also wonder about my place in the non-Mennonite world. Thank you for these thoughts.
    Ps. The alliteration on
    “generally gentle gifts
    In a
    generally loud world.”
    was so poetic and powerful!

    1. I hope you chose to “actually do it”, as I would greatly enjoy reading a post from you. 🙂
      Thanks for understanding and responding. I hope that 2020 is full of beautiful questions and answers and journeys for you.

  5. I think you chose the absolute best way of ending this post – you a small shadow, but still dancing in the light. I’m so looking forward to reading all of your posts in 2020. Love you!

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