I am not a fan of New Year Resolutions. In my own experience, and it seems with many others, it sets up a continuum of success or failure. So much of life seems either/or, right/wrong, success/fail, good/bad. As I have journeyed through life, the blacks and whites are not as clear anymore. My husband and I were talking the other night and I blurted out with frustration, "The more I know, the more I don't know." That is not a new thought but I understood it in a deeper place than ever before in that moment. I think "at this age" I should know more, and I know less with each passing year??? What???? Frustrating. I know that some people claim there is nothing left to surprise them. As much as part of me desires that for myself and envies their seeming certitude, I also find it sad. I want to believe there are surprises and places of growth that await me. God is not done teaching me. I want to remain teachable and receptive through the unknowing and humbling pieces of it all.
There is a growing movement to let a word choose you for the new year. Abbey of the Arts introduced that idea to me a few years ago. For the past four years, I have embraced a word for the year. I suppose I don't want to add another black or white to my repertoire - I either succeed or fail with a resolution. Allowing a word to reveal itself to me at year end, sets me up for all kinds of surprises and growth. The word works its way through me in a way that I cannot control. Having that intentionality for 12 months keeps me aware and open to how the Spirit is guiding me to that place.
Last year's word was "horizon." I stretched, risked and explored to the edges of the places God took me, and my personal life and the life of this AWBA community was served by that journey. As I explored those new lands, AWBA expanded into new areas. We will begin to reap that harvest in 2014.
I explored a few words for 2014 until the word "joy" came at me from about multiple directions in the span of a few hours. After sitting with it for a few days, it is clear that I am being invited to be a seeker of creative joy in 2014. I need joy in my life to balance the hard stuff. How about you? I am not looking for momentary snippets of happiness, although I will take them as they come. I am talking about the deeper places that are not dependent on my circumstances. I did a search of Joy in the Bible and the references are numerous. Joy is God's idea :) I focused on those in the book of Psalms and found 53 of them. Perfect for a weekly joy meditation practice. Now that I have settled in that place, other quotes and affirmations are coming forth.
"I have been in Sorrow's kitchen and licked out all the pots. Then I have stood on the peaky mountain wrapped in rainbows, with a harp and sword in my hands." -- Zora Neale Hurston, poet
As we humans sit in Sorrow's kitchen at times, I want to remember the possibility of being "wrapped in rainbows." AWBA will do its best to help you wrap yourself in rainbows in 2014 in the midst of your circumstances. Using the Holy Text for your faith or other words of inspiration, consider "joy" as an invitation for 2014. Reflect on what you find and, even if it is not your word for the new year, create a space for joy to take up residence within you as you journey with a chronic diagnosis.
AWBA will offer a new online retreat in early spring. We have two new public blogs to launch this month and late winter. We will keep you updated on this blog, our Facebook page and our AWBA newsletter.
Thank you for your place in this AWBA journey.