Archives

Winter thoughts

The first month of 2020 ends, and maybe we feel a little let down because we haven’t moved into the infant year like we intended. Typically we expect January 1 to offer hope and opportunity. For some it does. For others, it is the same old routine, the same hurts, the same struggles, following us into the next thirty days.

I recall years, attested in my journals, when January 1 was exactly like December 31, me wondering if I had the strength to persevere. How often I prayed, “O God of new beginnings and fresh starts, it’s me again.” 

Still, I am a fan of new months and weeks, a brand new day, a new adventure. There is expectancy in an unfolding promise.

The grey days of winter have worn a bit thin. I eagerly awaited the first glow of dawn. I noticed blue sky breaking through clouds and looked for sunsets.

I lit candles early morning waiting for darkness to vanish. I turned on lamps throughout the house to brighten the atmosphere as evening descended.

Already I weary of a winter without one really good snow. I tried to notice the lengthening days, incremental though they are, anticipating spring, warmth, and sunshine. I hoped the purple crocuses beside the front walk would surprise me one day.

I hosted a bridal tea party in January, celebrating the freshness of two lives soon to become one. This young couple met at our house one evening at Bible study, and it’s a story I love to tell. In just a few weeks they will vow their forever covenant of love.

I pulled out the pretty dishes, platters and cake plates hidden in closets and cupboards, dusty from non use. Preparation for the event reminded me of days when the grand girls were young children and welcomed any excuse for a tea party. They disappeared into the back bedroom where the box of dress-up clothes were stored and emerged like butterflies. They picked out tea cups from my collection. We spread the table with cheese and crackers, store bought cookies, hot cocoa, or whatever was handy. It wasn’t about the food, it was about the event of a tea party, of being together and enjoying the experience.

I began listening to the Daily Audio Bible with Brian Hardin, joining my cousin to journey through the Bible in a year. I enjoy the daily interchange as Brian expressively reads and I hear something new in old familiar stories. It is a spiritual discipline enriching my life.

I spent time with friends this month. Some are suffering in different ways. It presses hard on them as they walk paths not of their choosing. My heart aches for people I love. I want to ease their pain. I know I cannot. My only offering is a gift of time, a listening ear without judgment, and prayers for the awareness of the the God of all comfort. 

January 2020 is a memory, and in a way I don’t understand, it seemed slow, unlike my usual fleeting days, me barely aware until the months’ end appears on my planner. But not this month.

I’m pondering what made the difference. I said “no” to a couple of opportunities, trying to listen to my heart and set boundaries for myself, a skill I’m not very good at. I made and effort to work on projects, reckoning with my time and energy.

February begins, offering another new month, another opportunity, a promise unfolding. I want to live it well.

Living my life

“Happy New Year” is past and January 2018 is well on its way to become mid-month. Sweet William and I waited for the predicted winter storm to move from warning to reality. It took half a day to get here.¬†We have milk, bread and coffee.

I’ve been quiet on this blog since December, enjoying the rhythm of moving gently into another year.

Many were the feverish years when goals were written in categories, along with steps to achieve them: work, house, personal, spiritual, physical. I was regimented and orderly. These days, I am tending toward becoming a student of slow and steady, like the tortoise.

I enjoy the days where nothing is penciled into my planner. I guard myself  from my natural tendency to fill up a week in a lickety-split minute. This is a different season of life, and I want to live it well.

I am task-oriented, and I know it. Even now I must be purposeful in the commitments I make. Too often I’ve been quick to say “yes” without considering the consequences of time and energy, without understanding every “yes” equals a “no” somewhere else.

Our little girl, Maisie, teaches me about living at a slower pace. Life is simple for her. She likes to eat, sleep, play, and take walks. She sprints ahead of me with pure joy, then lingers long with her nose to the ground. This is her job after all.

101_1314My 2018 bullet journal is filled in, the pages bearing calendars and lists and things I’d like to accomplish in the next twelve months. I have a page titled “Bucket List” which includes learning to play the ukulele, something Sweet William is trying to help me do.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve read advice about the new year. I’ve done this so many times, and often I drove myself to accomplish much. Did I think it would make me more valuable, more worthy, more acceptable? Perhaps.

I know my year will include meal preparation and clean up that together take longer than eating the good food. I will do loads of laundry and fold and re-fold the same shirts, underwear and socks for the zillionth time. I will dust and vacuum and make up the bed. I will prepare at least 365 pots of coffee. I will shop for groceries, pay bills, and file papers.

I will drive to doctor and dentist offices more times than I like.

I will invite people in to share our table, and I will accept invitations from others. I will attend church, Sunday school, and Bible study and pursue relationships.

I will play the piano, tend the gardens, and watch the sunrise as I drink my morning coffee. I will walk with Maisie, slow to her pace and appreciate each one of the seasons.

I will kiss Sweet William good morning, and join him as we pray for people on our prayer list.

I will seek to hear the tender voice of the Spirit and ask to grow deeper in wisdom and understanding, compassion and mercy, love and forgiveness.

This begins another year of my life. I want to accomplish things and cross them off my list. I want to make a decision, move on, and learn something new. I want to keep trying and grow in so many worthwhile ways.

I want to live this wild and wonderful life I’ve been given. I want to help someone along the way, be a blessing, help bear a burden, let someone know she is loved.

I’ve not written all that in my bullet journal. Some things cannot be measured by list and accomplishment. Isn’t it the intangibles, the investment of time and attention we make in a life that takes more than 52 weeks to complete? And yet, it is the weightiest act of living.

The year lies ahead. The opportunities are before me. They will come one day at a time.

 

100_2766

100_2769