Happy new year folks! Hope this finds you looking forward to what a new year will bring. With 2021 here I have been spending time on what my word of the year will be. I started this practice in 2019 with hope and it was fantastic! 2020 word was joy and just like a lot of this past year: harder and different than I expected.For this year I am looking for a chance for another year of good experience with my word… which really meant finding what would help me cultivate what I want to see more of in my world.
At the start of December nothing was really coming to me so I tried to focus on what it is I wish was different in my day to day life. If I could get rid of something what would it be? Sometimes looking at it like a chance to be rid of something can be a little easier than needing to add or “fix” something. I thought about some of the good moments of this year and how I could start there and improve them. Two things came to mind:
1 – I wish when I was doing something, my mind would not wander to what I “should be” doing. For instance, it’s the evening of a work day and I am on the floor playing with Shannon, admiring that toothless cheesy grin and fascinated by how much I enjoy her, when I will start to think of my work to do list or an email I wish I had gotten to. I look around the floor and think it needs a good sweep or that Danny said he was gonna make dinner and no sign of any cooking going on. This leads to me wondering if I can accomplish said to do from my phone or if I could just draft that email real quick. I wonder if I should put on the TV to occupy Shannon and sweep real fast. Maybe I should just check in with Danny … I mean how rude can I be asking when I have worked a full day and am hanging with our kiddo and he is no where to be found? The lies that let these moments happen seem reasonable: if I just get that to do done I can actually relax. That email recipient is probably refreshing their inbox and will think I am a mess if I do it later. Danny doesn’t care about helping me. That sweet moment with Shannon, in a beautiful part of messy life has just been lost by my own distracted mind.
2- I wish I would feel more connected to my life…. taking it all in better or seeing the beauty in the now instead of wondering when it’s gonna fall apart again. Will Danny have to go to the hospital after all for this cold? Will managing everything on my own break me at some point and I am going to have to move back to my family? Is Danny ever going to recover? What is this life possible for like a year or two or 5 and then what? (These are normal for what I have been through. Danny has very similar emotions about his own death and all though we oddly can bond over it – it has been hard. There are days we both wonder if the transplant was even right thing for how hard it has been… we are both receiving help for these experiences and if you have any of these feelings, I encourage you to do the same). Again being in my current life feels impossible because I am constantly distracted.
If both of these sets of distractions were removed and I was more present I believe I would be closer to living the life God designed for me and has gifted to me. So being more present seemed like the answer …. but the world PRESENT just did not feel like a match. As my faith journey intensified these past few months, I wondered if obedience was the better word…if I followed more closely what God wants of me maybe I would be able to have peace and be more present. Then I toyed with gratitude – something I know produces the sort of emotions I was looking for here: wholeness, happiness and awe at the miracles we have been given. But NONE of these really felt like a full match and more importantly none of them on their own showed me what to do to achieve my goal of being present. So I started researching…. I started praying… and I tried to shut my a-type side up and just listen. In fact maybe doing a little practice in being present with God would help me…. just had to learn to keep my mind focused, my heart calm and my spirit willing….. and how I would do that would be???? Well God says “Be still” and that is when it hit me…. in fact I suddenly saw it EVERYWHERE! On a license plate driving, opened my new 2021 religious journal and it was the first words, and in several of my daily readings for 2020 they popped up. Just like “Hope” was following me in 2019, so was be still.. and so my 2021 word was found.
Over the coming days I will go into what it means religiously and for my world. But to close my sharing of my word for the year, I wanted to offer something that spoke to my heart just this past weekend! My efforts for 2021 are to Be Still: find God’s way and peace for my heart, mind and soul so I can be present and offer the same to my world and loved ones. What I am asking for is BIG but the way I am going about it is possible for big … that is who God is! I know what I am hoping to find and I know Who can give it to me ….. but what I did not realize is this is not just a me thing… these feelings, this struggle, this experience happens to many of us and is a tool used to pull us away from God. I saw Stephanie Weinert and Elizabeth Foss invite for discussing Acedia to prepare for 2021. I was not 100% sure what it was but joined in ….. WOW. Sounds like God is calling a lot of us to be still and lean into Him this year. And as it turns out they also recommended Father Schmitz talk on Acedia where he gives some of the best explanation of our ability to get distracted or avoid finding what it is we are supposed to be doing. How sometimes we are supposed to just wait and be still to find God’s direction. That is exactly what I hope to do for 2022.
Thank you so much for reading and remember to make it a great day!