As of yesterday, I still hadn’t picked a word for the year. As much as I wanted that to mean I was too cool and self-actualized to need one, the fact is that wordless and directionless are two sides of the same coin, and anyway, I’m only slightly cooler than a mealworm. Lately, I’ve been ungluing myself from bed at the last possible minute before getting the girls ready for school, and then hygiene and breakfast and allergy meds follow (not necessarily in that order), and by the time I sit down to take soul-inventory for the day, it’s already 9:00 without a single stray epiphany to show for it.
I know that life is a dynamic, untamable tempestress and that if I ever try claiming to have her figured out, I can expect a bitch slap upside the head. But really. “Huh” does not count as a mantra.
Here is what I’m talking about:
The delightfully dreadlocked Mandy Steward chose “vulnerable” for the year.
Sarah Bessey, whose writing is fire and water all at once, went with “fearless.”
My precious warrioress Rain honed in on “unafraid.”
Erika Morrison, who is cooler than a whole stage of mealworms with their own backup dancers, picked “celebrate.”
Alise chose “do,” and Jeff chose “start,” and all around me, I see bravery, the determination to live life to its fullest. I see how starting the year with a focus puts each day into hopeful perspective, how it catapults daily routines into another stratosphere of worth.
To be honest, I feel like I’ve gypped myself by not staking the same kind of claim on 2012 from the beginning. However, my main goal when the calendar turned was riding out a dust storm that threatened to keep me an ocean away from my husband and girls. January was turmoil and surprise and blinding uncertainty, and the only thing I found myself whispering on repeat was “God with us, God with us.” The concept of Emmanuel, carried over from the Christmas crèche, carried me back home.
Since returning, I’ve taken the gift of joblessness as a wide-flung opportunity to be present for the people in my life—saying yes to invitations, penciling in long afternoons for relationships, participating in this online community, being with instead of just around. And I finally saw it this morning, the thread strung like a lifeline between January’s upheaval and February’s calendar blocks:
God with me, the warmth of divine-to-earth whispers in my ear even when religion leaves me cold.
I with you, here, fully engaged in connecting through my words, offering my authentic heart.
I with you, our conversations growing well worn and becoming ever more Real as I care them threadbare.
Partnering with the causes that rip compassion-wounds in my defenses.
Communicating with the people I’m inclined to write off.
Walking with my loved ones, old and new (even if this means [thinking really hard about] answering emails in a timely fashion…).
Making eye contact with my own life instead of ducking away to hide when it gets overwhelming.
Waking up with us—all of us, you and me and Emmanuel whispers—on my mind and my path for the day stretching double-wide.
I might be late to the party, but man, it’s good to be here.