2010 on the lam

EmPulse for Week of January 3, 2010

2010 on the lam

On-the-lam—  Popular American slang for “on the run” (19th century.) The root of “lam” is the Old Norse word “lamja,” meaning “to make lame;” the original meaning of “lam,” when it first appeared in English in the 16th century, was “to beat soundly;” from a Scandinavian root meaning “thrash or flog.” The change in the meaning of “lam” from “beat” to “run away” probably echoed another slang term for running away—”beat it,” or “lam it” —  to rapidly beat the road with one’s feet by running, just as sheep do when they smell mint sauce.” [ http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/13/messages/1182.html ]

It sneaks up on you doesn’t it? Time, I mean. Now we’re in a new decade in the 21st Century. How did we get here? Weren’t Y2K, 9/11, & the Gulf Wars just yesterday!?! We’re still in a Recession, right? Unemployment is still up around 10%. And Afghanistan + Iran loom on the horizon are a sure future for many young men and women. These are not the greatest of times for many of us; they are challenging times, difficult times, calling on each of us to draw on deeper resources of strength, wisdom, and finesse.

Most of us live under the pressures of these times on a daily basis. We face decisions about our homes & cars, our futures, our finances, and how we are going to juggle everything and still make a contribution to the world around us. If the truth be known, many of us have stopped thinking about “making a contribution” altogether. When a society succumbs to this mentality it is in danger of thoroughly degrading to the utilitarian, where everyman is out for himself, and human decency degenerates to that of the lowest common denominator. In some ways we’re already there.

So 2010 comes upon us with some degree of ambivalence. This new decade holds out the usual hope that things will turn around and life will get better. But this time, that hope doesn’t feel quite so assured. It shares the stage with fear and anxiety that things just might NOT get better; that this is the new American dream…, or living nightmare, for our foreseeable future.

Personally, I prefer to make things better before they get here. I’m a fighter. As a counselor I have seen so many clients come through my door who have given up—hope, solutions, and even dreaming. Their lives are pictures of despair on dope; they truly do not believe they can find a way out of their living death. There are chemical imbalances that can be corrected in this condition, to be sure; but the real issue is one of persistence and a willingness to fight; to fight yourself, your emotions, your exhaustion, and your lethargy. Believe me, I have lived in those periods of life-despondency where I just didn’t care anymore. It was a long, hard battle to climb out of that self-created hole.

So as 2010 is now in its first full week of the space-time continuum, maybe we should steel our wills to go with the currents of her ebb and flow; all the while, plotting to undermine any attempts to sink us or our friends, or our families, or our faith. Set your heart, your mind, and your will to one of overcoming whatever will come your way. None of us can determine the curve balls that life throws at us. We can, however, decide in advance what our stance, attitude, and response will be to those situations. Entering 2010 on the lam won’t help any of us face the challenges of this new decade with any confidence or grace.

Maybe you can’t decide what your life situation will be in this coming year, or decade. But you can determine who you will be as a person, and how you will respond to life’s little dilemma’s that try to destroy you. And remember, if you have the God of the universe as an ally, there isn’t much the evil one can do to shake your life to crumbling.

Have a nice week.


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