I never intended to be away so long, but I know enough to know that’s just how it goes sometimes, especially this time of year.
First it was Christmas, and then it was technical issues on the computer, and then it was the opportunity to spend New Years away, just us five. We grabbed it with two hands — yes, we did.
It’s been lovely to be away, but I’ve missed you.
I’m behind on so many things: the trees and all the decorations still fill the house, scatterings of vacation mess cover all surfaces, but I’m feeling caught up on some of those things that matter most.
Cuddling under blankets.
Reading books and magazines.
Walking under pines.
Listening to people I love.
Eating delicious meals around the table.
Writing love letters to my girls.
Sitting in the quiet.
The longer I’m away from this screen and the blinking cursor, the more I struggle to come back and write, the more I need to choose the Voice that is greater than the siren song of perfection. I might be struggling with the lie that because you haven’t seen me in a while, I need to make some sort of dazzling grand entrance.
Well, I don’t have one of those today. Just me in my cozy wrap (though if I can say it straight, it is quite a luxurious Christmas gift from my mama who imagined my writing mornings like these, and I can barely take the thing off). And I’m here with bad-looking bed head, trying to ignore the girls’ random mess that covers my desk.
This morning, only a few sunrises into the new year, I’m getting ready to lace up shoes and head into the woods on a hike with my friend. We’ll have a young buddy spend the night. The Christmas trees will need to wait a little longer.
And I just had to meet you.
At least in our corner of the world, we approach this year extra squishy or is it extra firmer and rounder around the middle, things a bit of a wreck (have I said that already?), feeling a little unmoored from some of the places we’ve traditionally found our place. Things look different than I might have expected when I stood on the cusp of 2013.
I’m not sure how you and 2014 are getting along so far. Are you hopeful, weary, pared down or confused as you look at the blank canvas of the year? Me — I feel lots of things, including a vague awareness of being on the cusp of changes. When 2014 draws to its close, Michael and I will be 40, we will have three daughters in all-day school. Lots will have shifted in ways we can’t anticipate.
And in my writing life, too, I feel the shifts.
Last year I chose One Word, along with a large and growing community of people who do the same. It’s a great way to listen to your life and to God and allow the guidance of one concept to help inform you and your year. (Maybe this is for you? If you wanna, you can visit the website here for some inspiration.)
Well, in 2013, my anti-resolution, pro-intention word was trust. It was a significant choice for me, and I plan to write more about that, but one of the biggest shifts trust brought was experiencing the good of simply showing up — as the created me and my life, not some imagined me that I think you all would want to know.
There’s been such good in trusting the God who invites us to release the grip. I’ve needed to know and continue to need to know the truth that Julian of Norwich spoke: “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”
As a writer this has meant prayerfully looking at opportunities as they’ve made their way to me, writing when I felt led and knew I must. It’s meant releasing my “writerly identity” as something I need to own and manage and wrangle. It’s meant trusting there’s a reason for this voice of mine, this presence of mine because God has asked me to share who and what he’s made me, sparkles included or excluded, among the chorus of voices declaring what is good and true.
It’s not like I throw trust to the curb now that 2013’s closed. In fact, I read just this morning Jesus’ invitation to “Trust me.” Those words that became my mantra and shaped my year in meaningful ways, how I need them still.
This year, continuing to live in a place of trust, I feel the pull to move forth, to explore, to expand on a sense of purpose and vision beyond showing up alone. To seek, though I don’t know exactly what that means.
I do know that God’s dropped the word SEEK right into my lap. Though I considered words like “forward” and “onward,” they felt as if they may become too effort-filled and perform-y (what? that’s not a word?). “Seek” seems to me like an attitude of the heart, a deepening, a listening process, a willingness to move without feeling like I need to make it happen.
Anyway, that’s where I am today, friends. I’d love to know how you’ve been. I’ve really missed you.
Have you considered choosing a word to guide your year? I’d love to know if you have (or not).
Looking forward to 2014 with you, so grateful that I count you among some of life’s sweet blessings.