The Lucy Syndrome

By Tricia Kinsman
In Hope & Healing
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My name should have been Lucy. You know, the 1950’s sitcom about the crazy redhead married to Ricky Ricardo. She and Ethel were always getting into some kind of trouble or crazy situation. Truly, instead of those WWJD bracelets (What Would Jesus Do), mine should have read WWLD: What Would Lucy Do. Her messes always seemed to be my messes.

Who, as a young mom, saves all their pennies to be able to get away for 10 days to go see her sisters, and after the first shopping trip with them, falls and breaks her foot, spends 6 hours in the ER and has to fly home in a cast?

Who makes the choice to fly home in decent weather on Christmas morning, calls the airline to make sure they are on time (seriously, I did make the call), drives 45 minutes to the airport, only to find they cancelled the flight after all? Then who gets to drive all the way home only to get up and drive back the next day to the airport in a blizzard because today the flight is going? And who, arriving in Dallas two hours late, enjoys the lovely experience of lost luggage and after meeting the family for dinner, stays up all night trying to call the airlines, goes out at 6am to retrieve said luggage, then with an exciting day of shopping planned with her daughter, walks to the car only to take a bad fall on the black ice and spends the next three months in physical therapy?

I’ll tell you who… and Lucy Ricardo.

I’m the one who at least tries to do her due diligence, and yet finds she’s driven an hour to a class in very bad weather to find the teacher has just left a note on the door telling everyone they’ve decided to cancel DUE TO BAD WEATHER.

I’m the one who will be enjoying lunch outside with a friend on a beautiful day, only to have one of those horrible black birds land on her plate. I HATE those birds!!

People have said I’m gullible, naive, not paying attention, flighty, and blonde. I don’t believe any of those things are true: I do my homework, I make the calls, I do the research. I’ve just got a disease and it’s called The Lucy Syndrome.

Now how would I define this syndrome? To quote Inigo Montoya in the Princess Bride, “Let me ‘splain…, it is too much. Let me sum up.”

The Definition:

Crap happens and it’s unpredictable. Despite all your efforts, you cannot escape the falls, the bad marriages, the bad drivers, the users, and the liars. They are a series of events strung through your life like bad tasting sausages that typically have nothing to do with you or your decisions, but you seem to find yourself singing “Stuck in the Middle with You” again.

The Diagnosis:

How do you know if you have the disease? Have you made a plan, prayed about it, sensed God leading you to it, stuck with it, and in the end had it turn out just as you predicted? Then by all means, you are healthy and do not suffer from this disease!

The Treatment:

So when we find out we have some sort of disease, what do we do? We search for a treatment. We look for ways to thrive in the midst of it. I have tried to avoid it, stuff it, deny it, and even look through the proverbial rose-colored glasses at it, and here are a few things I’ve learned along the way:

  1. Check your baggage

Oftentimes, the things we repeat have to do with unresolved conflict or unforgiveness, past abuses and traumas. Sometimes it’s bad habits or repeatedly bad choices. If this is the case, there are changes and decisions that can be made to make the symptoms of this disease a little easier Unforgiveness can lead to bitterness of spirit. Make the choice to understand what forgiveness is and what it isn’t, and ask God what part of forgiveness is yours. Then, trust God with the outcome. Choosing unsafe people will always lead to chaos. Make those difficult decisions to weed out the people in your life who are not safe. Find a good support system first, then have the talk. Check to see what baggage you’ve been lugging around and make some changes if you need to. IBC has quite a few options for support groups that can help you identify the extra baggage.

  1. Find humor in the story vs. sorrow in the mess

Not all messy stories have humor in them. Many are just tragic, and humor would only be hurtful to the one who is suffering. But in many of these crazy events we can find something to laugh about. Finding the humor keeps my focus on the adventure in life, rather than the unpredictability. One thing that helps is to find a person with whom you can immediately share the story. For me, it’s my youngest sister. Because she knows me well, I’m constantly calling her to “gripe” about what just happened. She will allow me to get it out, but then we both tend to find the humor in it and usually end up saying, “It could only happen to me…..and Lucy!” There is always something wonderfully funny about telling the story from a humorous point of view that brings the focus into a positive light. Proverbs 17:22 tells us that a joyful heart is good medicine but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

  1. Learn to value your story and not wish for someone else’s

God has, in His infinite wisdom, known all the ins and outs of our journeys. He knows what and He knows why. He has a plan and we can go along with it or constantly look at others’ stories in comparison. Those stories are not OUR stories. They are not MY story. Look at life as an adventure. If you know what’s around the corner it’s either scary or boring. God told us this life would be an abundant adventure with Him if we would lay our life down and allow Him to lead and guide us. If I saw what He had in mind for me beforehand, I would find it terrifying. I would say NO to Him because I’d be scared to death to face what I knew was ahead. If I could lay out my own path I would never take any risks and I would never know what true faith is. There is no faith in the predictable. Out of this crazy life God gives all of us a unique story to tell about Him that only we can tell based on our unique experience with Him, and based on the adventure He’s allowed us to walk through while gripping His hand. Our personalities, combined with our experiences, give us the opportunity to tell something about God and His character that no one else is able to tell.

God continues to stretch my borders all while He is leading, guiding, and protecting from those things He desires to protect me from. When I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no EVIL. God would never lead me into evil, but His rod and His staff bring faith, grace, and peace. There is always a table prepared for me once I get there that I would not have stumbled upon on a different journey, in a different story. And that table is a table of provision.

So, though I may have The Lucy Syndrome (and if you haven’t guessed it yet, most of you do too), I am learning more and more how to live with this disease and how to share the things I’ve learned with others. But what an exciting way to live!

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